Your business plan is your compass. It will help you map out a new course, and navigate through unchartered territory. Whether you're writing a business plan for the first time or the fifth time, it doesn't have to be hard. In fact, if you write a lean plan or a one-page pitch first, you may find you actually enjoy it. You can start creating your business plan with our free business plan template or with a sample business plan from your industry. If you're applying for an SBA loan, take our free, SBA-approved course on how to write a business plan. If you have any questions, you can turn to one of our expert how-to guides on how to write a business plan for answers.
If you’ve never written a business plan before, these guides will walk you through what a business plan is, what it is used for, who needs one, the different types of plans available and what is included within the plan.
If you’re ready to write your business plan, follow our step-by-step guide on writing a detailed plan document or take a look at a our business plan outline to get started.
How to Write a Business Plan in Under an Hour
Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Business Plan
The Standard Business Plan Outline
Download a Business Plan Template
How to Write a Business Plan for a Nonprofit
Do you know how to build the financial section of your business plan? Learn more about what you’ll need to include and mistakes you should avoid making along the way.
Your business plan is a live document. It’s something you’ll want to use to pitch for funding, that you’ll want to update as you grow and as your business changes and that you can use to direct your decisions.
A good cash flow analysis might be the most important single piece of a business plan. All the strategy, tactics, and ongoing business activities mean nothing if there isn’t enough money to pay the bills. And that’s what a cash flow projection is about—predicting your money needs in advance. By cash, we mean money you... Read more »
An expense budget is part of the bread-and-butter basics of good management. Set your budget as a goal, then review and revise often to stay on track. Being right on budget is usually good, but good management takes the regular review to check on the timing, efficiency, and results of what your business spends. For... Read more »
Different situations call for different types of business plans. This is our guide to the most common types of business plans and how to use them. Read more »
What do you want from your business? Growth? Profits? Peace of mind? Choosing your own destiny? That’s what lean business planning is all about. It’s not just a plan, but rather an ongoing management process. Create a streamlined strategy and decide tactics, dates, and deadlines in the lean plan, then review results regularly, and revise... Read more »
A lean business plan does what every business owner and aspiring startup needs to manage strategy, tactics, execution, and essential business numbers. It exists for internal management, not for outsiders. It stays lean and simple with just bullet points for essentials and a collection of lists and tables. It should be reviewed and revised at... Read more »