Business Plan Templates (+ Examples and Prompts)

Smiling man looking at business template

Welcome, marketing managers! In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide you with business plan templates, real-world examples, and practical prompts to streamline your strategic planning process for your company.

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First, Generate Your Marketing Overview

Paste the following prompt into ChatGPT or similar AI tool:

Hello! I’m a busy marketing manager and I would like to create a concise marketing overview for my business. I need your assistance in this process. Please ask the following 10 questions, one at a time.

  • What is the name of your business?
  • Please provide a link to your website.
  • What industry does your business operate in?
  • What products or services does your business offer?
  • Who is your target audience or customer base?
  • What is their pain point?
  • What is the unique value proposition or key differentiator of your business?
  • How long has your business been operating?
  • What are the main goals and objectives of your business?
  • Are there any specific marketing channels or strategies that you have used in the past?

Based on my answers, please generate a marketing overview that can serve as a primer for future AI prompts. Leverage the 24 VIA character strengths where appropriate. Then, let’s check the marketing overview for accuracy, asking any clarifying followup questions if needed.

Then, Generate Your Business Plan Template

In the same chat session, now paste the following prompt:

Based on this marketing overview, I would like to create a business plan template for my business. Please ask the following questions, one at a time, allowing me to skip questions I don’t know.

  1. What are your short-term and long-term business goals?
  2. What is your competitive advantage in the industry?
  3. How do you plan to generate revenue and achieve profitability?
  4. What is your pricing strategy for your products or services?
  5. What is your marketing budget and allocation strategy?
  6. How do you plan to measure the success of your marketing efforts?
  7. Have you identified any potential risks or challenges in your business?
  8. Do you have a clear sales and distribution strategy?
  9. What is your customer acquisition strategy?
  10. Have you conducted market research or competitor analysis? If so, what were the findings?
  11. How do you plan to scale your business in the future?
  12. Do you have a plan for customer retention and loyalty?
  13. Have you identified any strategic partnerships or collaborations?
  14. Do you have a contingency plan in case of unforeseen circumstances?
  15. How do you plan to stay updated with industry trends and adapt to changes?
  16. What resources or team members do you need to execute your business plan successfully?
  17. Have you considered any legal or regulatory requirements relevant to your industry?
  18. What are your key milestones and timelines for achieving them?
  19. Are there any specific financial projections or forecasts you have prepared?
  20. How will you communicate and engage with your target audience?

Based on my answers, please generate a draft business plan. Leverage the 24 VIA character strengths where appropriate. Then, let’s check the business plan for accuracy, asking any clarifying followup questions if needed.

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More AI Prompts for Business Plan Templates

The best results in business planning usually stem from the synergy between AI expertise and human creativity. Here are ten AI prompts that can be used to improve and refine key elements of a business plan:

  1. Improve tone and style: Rewrite this section to adopt a more formal, playful, professional, or conversational tone.
  2. Strengthen value proposition: Articulate the unique value that your product/service brings to customers in a concise and compelling manner.
  3. Enhance market analysis: Provide a detailed analysis of the target market including size, trends, customer needs, and competitive landscape.
  4. Refine customer persona: Describe the ideal customer persona in more detail including demographics, pain points, and motivations.
  5. Optimize pricing strategy: Suggest a pricing model that maximizes profitability while remaining competitive in the market.
  6. Develop a marketing strategy: Outline a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes both online and offline channels, targeting specific customer segments.
  7. Craft a persuasive executive summary: Write a compelling executive summary that grabs the attention of potential investors and succinctly communicates your business’ unique selling points.
  8. Strengthen financial projections: Refine the financial projections (including revenue forecasts, expenses, and profitability analysis) based on current market trends.
  9. Identify potential risks and mitigation strategies: Identify the potential risks and challenges your business may face and propose effective strategies to mitigate them.
  10. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs): Define measurable KPIs that align with your business goals and objectives, allowing for effective performance tracking.

10 Best Practices for Business Plan Templates

  1. Keep it concise: Present your business plan in a clear and concise manner, focusing on the most important information.
  2. Define your target audience: Tailor your business plan to the specific needs and interests of your target audience whether it’s investors, stakeholders, or potential partners.
  3. Use a professional structure: Follow a well-structured format for your business plan including sections like executive summary, market analysis, marketing strategy, financial projections, and risk assessment.
  4. Highlight your unique value proposition: Clearly articulate the unique value your product or service brings to the market and why customers should choose you over competitors.
  5. Support claims with data: Back up your statements and projections with relevant data, market research, and industry trends to strengthen the credibility of your business plan.
  6. Keep it realistic: Ensure your financial projections and goals are achievable and grounded in realistic assumptions, demonstrating a thorough understanding of the market.
  7. Seek feedback from trusted advisors: Share your business plan with experienced individuals or mentors in your industry, and incorporate their feedback to refine your strategy.
  8. Use visual elements effectively: Incorporate charts, graphs, and visuals to present data and information in an appealing (and easily understandable) way.
  9. Continuously update and revise: Business plans should not be static documents. Regularly review and update your plan to reflect changes in the market, industry, or business strategy.
  10. Include an executive summary: Craft a concise and compelling executive summary that captures the essence of your business plan and entices readers to dive deeper.
paper airplane breaking away from the crowd

A great business plan will help you soar above the competition.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About Business Plan Templates

What is a business plan template, and why is it important?

A business plan template is a pre-designed document that provides a framework for outlining your business goals, strategies, and financial projections. It’s important as it helps you organize your thoughts, communicate your vision, and attract potential investors or partners.

Are there free business plan templates available?

Yes, there are numerous free business plan templates online you can use as starting points. Many organizations, including government agencies and business development centers, provide free templates to support entrepreneurs.

How do I choose the right business plan template for my industry?

When selecting a business plan template, consider one that aligns with your industry or business model. Look for templates that have sections specific to your industry’s unique requirements. Also, incorporate relevant financial projections and market analyses.

Can I customize a business plan template to fit my business?

Yes. Business plan templates are meant to be customized to reflect the specifics of your enterprise. Tailor the sections, content, and design to accurately represent your company’s vision, products and services, target market, and growth strategies.

How long should a business plan be?

A business plan’s length can vary, but it’s generally recommended to keep it concise and focused. Most business plans range from 15 to 30 pages (excluding supporting documents and appendices).

What sections should be included in a business plan template?

A comprehensive business plan typically includes sections like executive summary, company overview, market analysis, marketing strategy, product/service description, financial projections, and an implementation plan.

What financial information should be included in a business plan template?

Financial information in a business plan template should cover areas like startup costs, revenue forecasts, profit and loss statements, cash flow projections, and a break-even analysis. It should provide a clear understanding of the financial viability and potential profitability of your business.

How often should I update my business plan?

It’s recommended to review and update your business plan at least annually. However, you should also update it whenever significant changes occur in your business like launching new products, entering new markets, or experiencing major industry shifts.

Can I use my business plan template to secure funding or investments?

Yes! A well-crafted business plan is essential for attracting funding or investments. Investors and lenders often require comprehensive business plans to evaluate the viability and potential returns of investment opportunities.

Is it necessary to hire a professional to create a business plan?

While it’s not mandatory, hiring a professional business plan writer or consultant can be beneficial, especially if you lack the time, expertise, or resources to create a robust business plan. They can provide valuable insights, market research, and help refine your strategy.

10 Protips for Business Plan Templates

  1. Executive Summary: Be concise and compelling. Summarize your business plan’s key highlights in a manner that grabs readers’ attention.
  2. Market Analysis: Research your target market. Gather comprehensive data including customer demographics, trends, and competitor analysis.
  3. Value Proposition: Highlight your unique selling points. Clearly communicate your product or service’s top features and benefits that differentiate you from competitors.
  4. Marketing Strategy: Incorporate a multi-channel approach. Develop a marketing strategy that utilizes a combination of online and offline channels to reach your target audience.
  5. Financial Projections: Be realistic and detailed. Ensure your financial projections are based on realistic assumptions and provide readable breakdowns of revenue, expenses, and profitability.
  6. Risk Assessment: Identify and mitigate risks. Point out potential risks for your business and outline strategies to lessen them effectively.
  7. Competitive Advantage: Emphasize your competitive edge. Clearly articulate the factors that give your business a market advantage.
  8. Target Customer Persona: Create detailed customer profiles. Develop specific personas that encompass demographics, motivations, pain points, and purchasing behavior.
  9. Use Visuals: Utilize visual aids effectively. Incorporate charts, graphs, and other images to present data in a visually-appealing, easy-to-understand format.
  10. Proofread and Edit: Double-check for errors. Carefully go through your business plan to ensure it’s free of grammatical, spelling, or formatting mistakes.

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