I would suggest uising liveplan business planning software. It is very comprehensive, and includes business plan templates and video tutorials.
this is a great resource - http://www.onepagebusinessplan.com/ - I like its approach in getting to the heart of the matter
Do you want to do a plan for start up business? Or an annual plan for a going business? They are usually quite different.
If it's for a going business, I can send you a free template for a brief action plan for the coming year, if you send me your email. (We also offer plan workshops for business owners who want help completing their plan.)
Templates are not always useful, it depends on the business you're in, the stage your business is at and the purpose of the plan, e.g. raise money, strategic growth, divestment, exit etc.
At best templates are a partial roadmap. What you really need are the critical questions related to your opportunity and industry. Most templates are a laundry list of headings which you can take and adapt, being sure you dig past the questions they provide and tailor your enquiry and plan development to your circumstances.
Having taught Business Planning and Business Model development to post-grad entrepreneurship students and consulted with many businesses on their plans (as well as written a few myself) my key observation is many plans end up as garbage in, garbage out, because they asked the wrong questions, didn't consider strategic implications and thought that all they needed was a cookie cutter template. End result? Epic fail, often burning lots of money in the process.
Who are your customers?
What is your offering and market positioning?
How will you attract customers and at what cost?
Why will the dogs eat your dog food? And keep on eating it?
Show me the money...what is your business model, how will it evolve, who is strategic to you in the value chain and how will you exploit/control it?
What is the development requirement in time, money, infrastructure and sweat?
IP - have you got any, can you protect it, can you leverage it?
Risk, what risk? Market, people, development, financial, IP etc
Who are the people, why them, what do they offer, who else do you need, evidence of prior success in the field?
Dynamic financial model with timing and outputs that match schedule and written plan.
What metrics and do they make sense?
Investment required and use of funds.
Exit/harvest potential and strategy to deliver it.
These are headline questions. Underneath them you need to drill a whole lot deeper and then synthesise your your thinking into a logical, compelling story.
In your industry business models and strategies are very easy to copy. The key differences between winners and losers is execution, service delivery and marketing. Is that where your focus is? If not, you better have some damn fine IP and a great strategic play...
This is a little unconventional, but I did this once and got a lot of useful information. I would identify my publicly traded competitors then research their filings with the SEC. More tactical information can be found in a SEC Form 1-A then you normally get from an Annual Report. The format is much closer to a traditional business plan and has the financial ratios, market research and tactical data that you need if you plan to compete with these folks.
You can find samples on http://www.canadabusiness.ca/eng/page/2752
Business plans concept is in change. Check http://www.businessmodelgeneration.com/canvas or get the book. Very useful for start-up, growth or just for a simple idea planning. This concept is simpler and clearer than regular business plans. It has the same procedure but with different thinking concept.
There is a guy that was selling them- Very good system, never bought - just can't remember his name.. biz plan on google- I think it was $100.00 and he has a good track record, think he was in Florida. If I find it , I will let you know.
Hi. I find bplans.com very useful and comprehensive. Have a look and see if it works.:):)
I have used Business Plan Pro software in the past and it too is pretty comprehensive. It also has many business plans on it that you can review.
Send me your email and I'll send you a simple but comprehensive template that can be adapted to any business. I've used it for years across all sorts of FMCG and CPG businesses from MNC to niche.
I agree with John about using the onepagebusinessplan.com. You can also find information at http://www.sba.gov/.
Don't use a template unless your really have to. Go first to http://startupowl.com/resources/business-startup-essentials/planning-your-startup/, then get a plan here: http://startupowl.com/resources/the-tool-chest/tools-techniques/business-plan-outline/.
Will, The Startup Owl
You local Small Business Development Center can provide you with an excellent business plan format. The format includes detailed Excel spreadsheets for the financial planning part. Also, the SBDC's typically run classes on how to complete a business plan during the year.
The SBDC's are part of the Small Business Administration. You can find you local SDBC by Googling SDBC and you city, state.
They have a few FREE ones. Use Palo Alto software, lots of templates.
I would definitely suggest using the Score business template mentioned here already. I've used this with a high level of success. Please connect with me if you would like to share experiences using the template. Scott@crossroadinsights.com.
I like LivePlan as well. They've got some really great tools. I recommend it to all of my clients.
Here you go if you need the link:
Using a template for a business plan saves time. However, it is essential that the entrepreneur spend enough thought and time in preparing the plan that the reader does not immediately identify it as "canned". "Canned" business plans get a quick glance and an even quicker trip to the waste basket.
let me have your email and I'll send you a template.
mine is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Funny you ask, I shared my thoughts on this not long ago here: http://giacomoballi.wordpress.com/2012/11/01/know-what-you-do-and-be-able-to-share-it/