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Free small business plan template: writing your business plan

12 June 2024

Creating a business plan is a critical step for any new venture. Think of it as a roadmap, guiding your business from the initial idea through growth and development. A business plan helps you:

  • Pinpoint your business idea's viability
  • Identify any potential challenges
  • Align your goals
  • Forecast finances
  • Measure progress.

Continuous planning

Business planning involves setting goals. But your business plan should also outline the actions required to achieve your goals. You will also need to include the resources you'll need to achieve your goals. It's a continuous process that helps keep your business on track. Start with clear, measurable goals. Develop a timeline for achieving these goals and allocate resources accordingly. Regularly review and update your plan to reflect market or business changes.

Market research

Market research is the foundation of your new business plan. It involves gathering, analysing, and interpreting information and trends about your market, customers, and competitors. Understanding the market landscape helps you identify opportunities and threats. Key components include market and external environment analysis, competitive analysis, and customer analysis. Use surveys, focus groups, and existing data to gain insights into your target market's needs and preferences.

Target market

Identifying your target market(s) is crucial. This group(s) comprises customers most likely to buy your product or service. Define your target market(s) by:

  • Demographic (age, gender, income, occupation)
  • Geographic (regional, UK, international)
  • Psychographic (lifestyle, attitudes, interests, values)
  • Behavioural (buying habits).

Understanding your target market(s) helps you tailor your marketing and sales efforts effectively.

What does a business plan cover?

A traditional business plan format includes the following elements:

Executive summary

This is a brief business overview, which includes:

  • Your mission statement and objectives
  • Product or service offerings
  • Basic information about your company’s team, location, and financial information.

Think of the executive summary as a friendly introduction to your business plan. This short, engaging snapshot gives a quick, compelling overview of your plan.

Business description

Detailed information about your business, the problems it solves, and the target market(s).

Business strategy

Your business strategy outlines how you will achieve your business goals and objectives. It includes your market position, competitive advantage and unique selling points (USPs).

Market analysis

This involves researching your industry including any external factors that may impact it, market size, expected growth, and competitive landscape. It helps you understand the environment in which your business will operate. You can also identify opportunities and threats.

Organisation and management

This details your business's organisational structure. It will include details about the ownership, and profiles of your management team.

Products or services

Information about what products you're selling or the services you're offering.

Marketing strategy

Your marketing strategy outlines how you will attract and retain customers. It includes your unique selling proposition, pricing strategy, promotional tactics, and distribution channels. Your marketing strategy should be based on thorough market research and align with your business goals.

Financial projections

Financial forecasts predict your business's future financial performance. They include income statements, cash flow statements, and balance sheets. These forecasts help you understand the financial implications of your business decisions. And whether you need to secure funding from investors or lenders. Base your forecasts on assumptions about realistic sales, expenses, and market conditions.


If you're seeking financing, detail your current and potential future funding requirements and how you will use the funds.


A simple business plan template ensures you cover all essential plan components. Several free business plan templates are available online, but you can download ours below. These will offer a structured format to ensure you cover all essential aspects of your business plan.

By following these guidelines, you can create a robust business plan that will endeavour to guide your business to success. Remember, a well-prepared, lean business plan is not just a document. It's a strategic tool that helps you navigate the challenges and opportunities of starting and growing your business. You can revisit your plan, as and when your business situation or requirements change. 

Now you're ready to get started, download your FREE guide by clicking here.

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