Plan Your Business

A well-written business plan is your path to a successful business. Learn to write, use, and improve your business plan with exclusive guides, templates, and examples.

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What should I include in my business plan?

You must have an executive summary, product/service description, market and competitive analysis, marketing and sales plan, operations overview, milestones, company overview, financial plan, and appendix.

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Why should I write a business plan?

Businesses that write a business plan typically grow 30% faster because it helps them minimize risk, establish important milestones, track progress, and make more confident decisions.

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What are the qualities of a good business plan?

A good business plan uses clear language, shows realistic goals, fits the needs of your business, and highlights any assumptions you’re making.

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How long should my business plan be?

There is no target length for a business plan. It should be as long as you need it to be. A good rule of thumb is to go as short as possible, without missing any crucial information. You can always expand your business plan later.

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How do I write a simple business plan?

Use a one-page business plan format to create a simple business plan. It includes all of the critical sections of a traditional business plan but can be completed in as little as 30 minutes.

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What should I do before writing a business plan?

If you do anything before writing—figure out why you’re writing a business plan. You’ll save time and create a far more useful plan.

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What is the first step in writing a business plan?

The first thing you’ll do when writing a business plan is describe the problem you’re solving and what your solution is.

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What is the biggest mistake I can make when writing a business plan?

The worst thing you can do is not plan at all. You’ll miss potential issues and opportunities and struggle to make strategic decisions.

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Business planning guides

Clipboard with paper, calculator, compass, and other similar tools laid out on a table. Represents the basics of what is a business plan.

What is a business plan?

Learn what a business plan is, why you need one, when to write it, and the fundamental elements that make it a unique tool for business success.

Apples and oranges. Representing different business plan types and how they are similar and different at the same time.

Types of business plans

Explore different business plan formats and determine which type best suits your needs.

Female african american entrepreneur climbing up the side of a mountain. Representing the need to create a business plan to guide your journey.

How to write a business plan

A step-by-step guide to quickly create a working business plan.

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Tips to write your business plan

A curated selection of business plan writing tips and best practices from our experienced in-house planning experts.

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Industry business plans

Explore industry-specific guides to learn what to focus on when writing your business plan.

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Business planning FAQ

Business planning is the act of sitting down to establish goals, strategies, and actions you intend to take to successfully start, manage, and grow a business.

The seven steps to write a business plan include:

  1. Craft a brief executive summary
  2. Describe your products and services
  3. Conduct market research and compile data into a market analysis
  4. Describe your marketing and sales strategy
  5. Outline your organizational structure and management team
  6. Develop financial projections for sales, revenue, and cash flow
  7. Add additional documents to your appendix

A traditional business plan should include:

  1. An executive summary
  2. Description of your products and services
  3. Market analysis
  4. Competitive analysis
  5. Marketing and sales plan
  6. Overview of business operations
  7. Milestones and metrics
  8. Description of your organization and management team
  9. Financial plan and forecasts
  10. Appendix

You are more likely to start and grow into a successful business if you write a business plan.

A business plan helps you understand where you want to go with your business and what it will take to get there. It reduces your overall risk, helps you uncover your business’s potential, attracts investors, and identifies areas for growth.

Having a business plan ultimately makes you more confident as a business owner and more likely to succeed for a longer period of time.