woman sitting at desk with paperwork and laptop
Using a template to guide you in creating your business plan can take away a lot of the stress and guesswork. — Getty Images/pinkypills

Writing a business plan may not feel like the most exciting part of starting a business, but designing a solid plan is crucial for any company to succeed — especially if you plan to seek funding from an investor or a lender.

Fortunately, many organizations and online resources offer business plan templates to make this step as painless as possible. Here are five business plan templates you can use to get your startup off the ground, pivot your existing plan or attract new investors to your business.

For a comprehensive first-timer: U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has a comprehensive tool that allows you to create a thorough, well-researched business plan. A helpful feature of this tool is that it allows you to edit your business plan as needed, so you don’t have to start from scratch every time you make a change.

The SBA’s business plan template is lengthy, which means you may not be able to tackle it all in one sitting. However, taking your time with this tool will encourage you to analyze every aspect of your business —an important step in helping your business reach its goals.

For a straightforward idea jogger: The $100 Startup

If you’re not seeking funding and don’t necessarily need a complicated template, The $100 Startup, named after the best-selling book, offers a one-page business plan template that you can complete in just a few minutes.

This template isn’t necessarily designed to win investors or lenders, but it will get your thoughts on paper and allow you to start executing your plan.

[Click here for more tips on writing your business plan.]

Writing a business plan usually happens during the startup phase, but if you didn’t create one — or simply haven’t updated yours since you launched — it’s not too late.

For a specific industry: LawDepot

LawDepot’s free business plan template has a simple, easy to use interface that guides you through every step of the process. It also allows you to select which industry you do business in, so each template is tailored to the specific needs of your operation.

While the business plan template is free to use, you have to sign up for a trial subscription to download your plan. However, you can cancel the subscription if you don’t plan on using the service afterwards.

For a law firm: Lexicata

As a law firm, marketing your services, building a website and other business-related essentials may seem out of reach as you balance the needs of your clients and jump from one case to another.

Designing a strong business plan will help you manage your business while serving the needs of your clients. Lexicata offers a free law firm business plan template that is broken into five primary sections, each of which guides you through everything you need to make a proper business plan and run a successful firm.

For an established business: SCORE

Writing a business plan usually happens during the startup phase, but if you didn’t create one — or simply haven’t updated yours since you launched — it’s not too late. Established businesses can create a business plan that aligns with their current goals, such as attracting investors, lenders, buyers or even new partners.

SCORE, a nonprofit organization devoted to helping entrepreneurs, business owners and small businesses succeed, has designed a free business plan template for established businesses that can help you align or pivot your company goals to your current needs.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

Published May 06, 2019