You can write your own business plan

Your business plan helps to set the tone of your business. Learn the fundamentals of writing a business plan quickly and effectively with a business plan examples.


There’s no One fits all for your business plan

Which business plan examples should you choose.

Business plans help to create order in your business.

Good business plans guide you through each stage of your business.

They ensure that you not only know your concise goals but that you also know  the necessary steps needed in order to achieve them. 

Both investors and clients want to feel confident that they will get their end of the bargain when working with you and a business plan helps to create that trust. 

There’s no ‘one fits all’ for your business plan.

There’s no right or wrong way to write a business plan. These are your goals for your business so just make sure it meets your needs. 

It is important to note that businesses commonly fall into the categories of lean startup or traditional.

Traditional business plans are more common requiring a standard structure and going into detail in each section. A Lean startup business plan, on the other hand, is less common but still  effective. They still use a standard structure but focus on summarizing the key points of your plan. 

PRO-TIP – Because of its compact nature some investors may request additional information upon receiving a Lean startup plan.

Which business plan should you choose?

Lets help you narrow it down.

Don’t get stuck sticking to the outline. Too often startup businesses get stuck trying to duplicate the exact model of a business plan examples. These template should serve as outlines so use the sections that make the most sense for your business needs and rename or skip the rest.

Traditional Business Plan Examples Format

This type of plan is detailed and complete. You may consider this plan if you are very detail oriented or plan to request financing from any source. This plan helps the grantor feel confident that you are organized and have a complete plan of execution. 

When choosing an outline for your business plan choose sections that make the most sense for your particular business model. You are writing YOUR business plan so the outline should serve as just that, an outline. With that being said, traditional business plan examples typically have a combination of the following nine sections. 

Executive Summary

This is nothing fancy and is exactly as it sounds. Here you will briefly tell the reader who your company is and what will make it the successful business you intend for it to be. You’ll want to include your mission statement,  whatever products or services your provide, and some basic information about your team including but not limited to leadership, employees, and location. A good practice, especially if you intend to request financing, is to also include financial data and optimistic growth plans.

Company Description

Previously in the executive summary you gave a brief description of your company. Here you will further elaborate and provide detailed information about your company. In this section you’ll want to tell the reader about your niche or what problems your business solves. You should be specific leaving no room for misinterpretation. You’ll also want to list out the details of your target audience including consumers, organizations and businesses your company plans to service.

Go into detail about your niche. Explain what competitive advantages you have over your competitors that will make your business successful. If you have experts on your team, state that. If you’re in the ideal location for your particular business let the reader know. This is the perfect time to boast about your strengths. Your company description should tell the reader everything they need to know about why they should choose your business.

Market analysis

For your market analysis you’ll want to have a concrete understanding of your industry outlook and target market. This means doing your market research to show what other businesses are doing and what their strengths so that you know your competition. In your research you will look for trends with these questions in mind. What are you successful competitors doing, why it works, and can you do it better? With these questions in mind you and your investor or reader will have a clear understanding of how to overcome your competition to make your business successful.

Organization and management

Who will run your company? How will it be structured?

Describe the legal structure of your business. Is it now, or will it be in the near future a C or S corporations, general or limited partnership, or are you a sole proprietor or LLC.

An organizational chart helps to display what roles each member plays in your company. Highlight some unique qualities or experience that will contribute to the success of your business. A good way to highlight these features is to include resumes or CVs of some of the key member of on your team.

Service or product line

Tell the reader what product you sell or service you offer and be descriptive. Tell what benefits your customers can expect to have from it and what the lifecycle of the product or service is. Intellectual property is important if you intend to copyright, or patent and filings share those sorts of details here. If you’re in the research and development phase explain in detail your process. 

Marketing and sales

There’s no one fits all when it comes to your marketing strategy. The only requirement here is that it should be an evolving strategy and should adjust to fit your unique business needs.

The goal in this section is to describe how you’ll market your product or service to attract and retain customers. You’ll describe yours sales strategy in detail listing the specifics of how you make a sale. You should be as thorough as possible as it will help you to make financial projections described later in this plan.

Funding Request

If you are requesting financing, this is the section where you’ll lay out the reason you need it. The goal here is to clearly explain how much funding you’ll need over the next 5 year and what it will be used for. 

Think about how you want to pay back the funding. Do you want to pay back the loan with interest or would you prefer to pay the loan back with shares of your company. Debt and equity, the terms you want applied, and the length of time your request covers all play a big part in your request for funding in this section. Detail how the funds will be allocated. Do you need funds to buy equipment, pay salaries, or cover specific bills until revenue increases? Finally you’ll want to include your future financial strategies like debt resolution or liquidating your business. 

Financial projections

Add substance to your funding request with financial projections. Doing so will help convince the reader that your business is stable and will be a financial success.

Include income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements for the last three to five years if your business is already established. If it is not or just for some additional backing list some collateral you could put against a loan. For the first year be as specific as possible and use quarterly or monthly projections explaining them in clear detail. Graphs and charts will help to tell the financial story here.


The appendix is used for supporting documents such as credit history, product pictures, permits, patents, resumes etc. 

Business plan examples

If you wish to start a business or expand your current business the SBA provides the proceeding fictional business plans by fictional business owners. Andrew operates under a sole proprietorship and Rebecca operates under an S corporation.

Andrew’s example business plan

Rebecca’s example business plan

The Lean Startup format

For some business models a lean startup format works best. Some reasons you may prefer this format are that you want to start your business quickly or you plan to regularly refine your business plan.

Lean startup formats use only a few elements to describe your company’s value propositions, customers, infrastructure, and finances. Charts are a good way to help the reader visualize tradeoffs and pertinent details about your company.

There are many versions of lean startup templates, but the most well known is the Business Model Canvas, developed by Alex Osterwalder. Though we don’t include any of those templates here a quick web search will help you find free templates of the business model canvas to help you to build your business plan.

There are nine key components to any Business Model Canvas template.

Key partnerships

What other businesses or services will you work with to run your business. For example who are your suppliers, subcontractor, or similar partners?

Key activities

Note how your business will gain an advantage over its competitors. Emphasize items like direct sales or using technology to tap into social sharing.

Key resources

What are the resources you will leverage to help create the value proposition your customer wants? This could include important assets such as staff, financial or physical investment, or intellectual property and don’t forget to be inclusive.

Value proposition

Think about a clear and compelling statement that defines what kind of company you are and what you bring to the market and state it here.

Customer relationships

How is the customer experience? Is it automated or personal, in person or online. What is the customer’s experience from start to finish.

Customer segments

Who is your target market? No business is for everybody so clearly explain who you are marketing towards. 


Talk about the different channels of communication here. How will your customers communicate with you. How will investors communicate with you. 

Cost structure

This section is a business plan example of financial strategy. Here you will explain if your company is geared towards low cost or high value . Define your strategy with the primary costs that it would take to pursue it.

Revenue streams

How will you make money. Are you direct selling, do you charge membership fees, or business space? If your company gets money from multiple different revenue streams list them here. 

Lean business plan example

Remember Andrew’s business plan for his toy company? His can also serve as lean business plan examples. 

Andrew’s business plan

Starting from scratch? Learn how to start a business.