Plus, it shows you the general layout of a standard business plan so you know what goes where and that you're not leaving out anything.
A great business plan template will also provide instructions for each step of your plan and show you what an investor-ready and SBA-approved business plan should look like.
A standard business plan consists of a single document divided into several sections including a description of the organization, the market research, competitive analysis, sales strategies, capital and labor requirements, and financial data.
The resulting document can serve as the blueprint for your business and be supplied to financial institutions or investors if debt or equity financing is needed to get your business off the ground.
Cons of using a business plan template: While there are benefits to using a business plan template, depending on your situation it may not be the best way to complete your plan. For instance, not only do you have to complete the financial spreadsheets, but you have to do the math yourself.
You’ll also have to know enough about the process to be sure you’re getting the numbers in the right place.
It’s not easy to keep everything completely up-to-date as you make changes to your numbers, and integrating the right charts and graphs into your business plan is harder than it looks.
However, if you’re new to business planning and just want to get a sense of what a plan looks like and want to get the process started quickly and cheaply, then downloading a free template is the best way to get started.
For a one-person, home-based consulting business the operating plan will be short and simple, but for a business such as a restaurant or a manufacturer that requires custom facilities, supply chains, specialized equipment, and multiple employees, the operating plan needs to be very detailed.
The Operating Plan Section of the Business Plan will provide you with additional information about your operating plan.