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Start Your Business Business Plans

12 Free Business Plan Templates for Startups

12 Free Business Plan Templates for Startups
Credit: Rawpixel/Shutterstock

Writing a business plan is one of the most crucial elements of starting a business. However, it doesn't have to be the most frustrating. Here are 12 free business plan templates.

The Balance business plan template is broken into sections such as executive summary, business overview, market analysis and competition, and sales and marketing plan. The Balance also offers a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan to go with the template. Each section can be copied into a Word, Excel or similar Office document.

Teaching kids about money and business is easy at online portal Biz Kids. It offers a step-by-step guide to writing a business plan. The PDF document breaks down each section with brief questions and simple formulas to help users complete the one-page business plan template. Although the guide and plan cater to younger entrepreneurs, the resources cover all the basics and are suitable for any type of business.

Bplans offers a free Word business plan template complete with instructions and a table of contents. It also offers many standard business plan sections such as executive summary, company summary, and products and services. Once you register, you can download the materials and choose from a wide variety of businesses in different industries. Whether your business is online, service-based or a food establishment, Bplans' Word business plan templates are comprehensive and great for beginners or new business owners.

Editor's note: If you're looking for information to help you with business plan services, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free. 

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FormSwift has a collection of over 500 document templates, including a business plan template. You can fill out the template with the help of a step-by-step guide and then export it into Word or a PDF for later use. You can sign up for a free trial and get all the benefits of a full membership, like creating an unlimited number of documents and electronically signing and allowing others to sign any document. Once the free trial ends, you will be automatically upgraded, but you can cancel your free trial at any time.

Law Depot's step-by-step business plan builder covers structure, product marketing, SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats), operations and details specific to your business. The plan builder asks questions to make your business plan concise and comprehensive. Once the template is complete, you can download it and print.

My Own Business Institute (MOBI) is part of Santa Clara University's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. It offers a 15-section business plan template that includes the business profile, licenses and permits, and location, which are available for free download in Word as individual templates or as a larger all-in-one document. MOBI also covers topics associated with startups and running a business, such as employee management, e-commerce and how to handle problems.

This PDF business plan template from New York StartUP! was adapted from Rhonda Abrams' "Successful Business Plan" (The Planning Shop, 2010). Each section of this business plan template includes instructions for what type of information to enter, as well as chapter references so you can look up more details. In addition, the template includes a SWOT analysis and optional technology plan. This template is also used as the official business plan for the New York StartUP! 2017 Business Plan Competition.

Office Depot's Business Resource Center contains free business plan samples for retailers, manufacturers and service providers. There are five total documents available, with two in rich text format (RTF) that is suitable for most word processing programs, and one file that requires Microsoft Word 6.0 or above. The other two files are Microsoft Excel spreadsheets that are compatible with Excel 4.0 and above.

The One-Page Business Plan Company offers a single-page business plan for those who don't want to write an essay. The plan is separated into several sections, such as vision, mission, objectives, strategies and action plans. You can answer questions using keywords and short phrases. PDF samples of the template are available for download via Oprah.com.

PlanBuildr helps entrepreneurs create business plans that help raise capital and improve their strategy. Its simplified business plan template takes less than 10 minutes to complete. The website guides you step by step through all the different sections of a business plan, such as industry and funding. From there you can design your cover page and answer questions in categories including executive summary, customers, marketing and competition.

With Rocket Lawyer's business plan template, not only do you create a free business plan, but you also get the advantage of an attorney's advice to make sure your document is legally sound. The questionnaire-style template asks for key information about your business, such as founders, structure, marketing plans and financial projections. Your completed document is available for download as a Word document for free with a one-week trial subscription.

SCORE is a small business resource website that aims to help entrepreneurs launch and grow small businesses across the United States. It offers a collection of business planning tools, including free Word business plan templates for startups and established businesses. Once you complete the template, you can then use it to meet with a SCORE mentor for expert business planning advice. It also offers financial templates for expenses, projections, etc., and they come with the same benefit of a SCORE mentor for expert finance advice.

Additional reporting by Sara Angeles and Marci Martin.

Jennifer Post

Jennifer Post graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism. Having worked in the food industry, print and online journalism, and marketing, she is now a freelance contributor for Business News Daily. When she's not working, you will find her exploring her current town of Cape May, NJ or binge watching Pretty Little Liars for the 700th time.