24 Best Sample Business Plans & Examples to Help You Write Your Own

Clifford Chi

Published: August 17, 2023

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Reading sample business plans is essential when you’re writing your own. As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, you’ll learn how to write one that gets your business off on the right foot, convinces investors to provide funding, and confirms your venture is sustainable for the long term.

sample business plans and examples

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But what does a business plan look like? And how do you write one that is viable and convincing? Let's review the ideal business plan formally, then take a look at business plan templates and samples you can use to inspire your own.

Business Plan Format

Ask any successful sports coach how they win so many games, and they’ll tell you they have a unique plan for every single game. The same logic applies to business. If you want to build a thriving company that can pull ahead of the competition, you need to prepare for battle before breaking into a market.

Business plans guide you along the rocky journey of growing a company. Referencing one will keep you on the path toward success. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

With so much at stake, you might be wondering, "Where do I start? How should I format this?"

Typically, a business plan is a document that will detail how a company will achieve its goals.

business plan work ideas

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Most business plans include the following sections:

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is arguably the most important section of the entire business plan. Essentially, it's the overview or introduction, written in a way to grab readers' attention and guide them through the rest of the business plan. This is important, because a business plan can be dozens or hundreds of pages long.

Most executive summaries include:

  • Mission statement
  • Company history and leadership
  • Competitive advantage overview
  • Financial projections
  • Company goals

Keep in mind you'll cover many of these topics in more detail later on in the business plan. So, keep the executive summary clear and brief, including only the most important takeaways.

Executive Summary Business Plan Examples

This example was created with HubSpot’s business plan template:

business plan sample: Executive Summary Example

And the executive summary below tells potential investors a short story that covers all the most important details this business plan will cover in a succinct and interesting way.

Business plans examples: Executive Summary

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Tips for Writing Your Executive Summary

  • Clearly define a problem, and explain how your product solves that problem, and show why the market needs your business.
  • Be sure to highlight your value proposition, market opportunity, and growth potential.
  • Keep it concise and support ideas with data.
  • Customize your summary to your audience. For example, emphasize finances and return on investment for venture capitalists.

Check out our tips for writing an effective executive summary for more guidance.

2. Market Opportunity

This is where you'll detail the opportunity in the market. Where is the gap in the current industry, and how will your product fill that gap?

In this section, you might include:

  • The size of the market
  • Current or potential market share
  • Trends in the industry and consumer behavior
  • Where the gap is
  • What caused the gap
  • How you intend to fill it

To get a thorough understanding of the market opportunity, you'll want to conduct a TAM, SAM, and SOM analysis and perform market research on your industry. You may also benefit from creating a SWOT analysis to get some of the insights for this section.

Market Opportunity Business Plan Example

This example uses critical data to underline the size of the potential market and what part of that market this service hopes to capture.

Business plans examples: Market Opportunity

Tips for Writing Your Market Opportunity Section

  • Focus on demand and potential for growth.
  • Use market research, surveys, and industry trend data to support your market forecast and projections.
  • Add a review of regulation shifts, tech advances, and consumer behavior changes.
  • Refer to reliable sources.
  • Showcase how your business can make the most of this opportunity.

3. Competitive Landscape

Speaking of market share, you'll need to create a section that shares details on who the top competitors are. After all, your customers likely have more than one brand to choose from, and you'll want to understand exactly why they might choose one over another. Performing a competitive analysis can help you uncover:

  • Industry trends that other brands may not be utilizing
  • Strengths in your competition that may be obstacles to handle
  • Weaknesses in your competition that may help you develop selling points
  • The unique proposition you bring to the market that may resonate with customers

Competitive Landscape Business Plan Example

The competitive landscape section of the business plan below shows a clear outline of who the top competitors are. It also highlights specific industry knowledge and the importance of location, which shows useful experience in this specific industry. This can help build trust in your ability to execute your business plan.

Business plans examples: Competitive Landscape

Tips for Writing Your Competitive Landscape

  • Complete in-depth research, then emphasize your most important findings.
  • Compare your unique selling proposition (USP) to your direct and indirect competitors.
  • Show a clear and realistic plan for product and brand differentiation.
  • Look for specific advantages and barriers in the competitive landscape. Then, highlight how that information could impact your business.
  • Outline growth opportunities from a competitive perspective.
  • Add customer feedback and insights to support your competitive analysis.

4. Target Audience

This section will describe who your customer segments are in detail. What is the demographic and psychographic information of your audience?

If your immediate answer is "everyone," you'll need to dig deeper. Ask yourself:

  • What demographics will most likely need/buy your product or service?
  • What are the psychographics of this audience? (Desires, triggering events, etc.)
  • Why are your offerings valuable to them?

It can be helpful to build a buyer persona to get in the mindset of your ideal customers and be clear on why you're targeting them.

Target Audience Business Plan Example

The example below uses in-depth research to draw conclusions about audience priorities. It also analyzes how to create the right content for this audience.

Business plans examples: Target Audience

Tips for Writing Your Target Audience Section

  • Include details on the size and growth potential of your target audience.
  • Figure out and refine the pain points for your target audience , then show why your product is a useful solution.
  • Describe your targeted customer acquisition strategy in detail.
  • Share anticipated challenges your business may face in acquiring customers and how you plan to address them.
  • Add case studies, testimonials, and other data to support your target audience ideas.
  • Remember to consider niche audiences and segments of your target audience in your business plan.

5. Marketing Strategy

Here, you'll discuss how you'll acquire new customers with your marketing strategy. You might consider including information on:

  • The brand positioning vision and how you'll cultivate it
  • The goal targets you aim to achieve
  • The metrics you'll use to measure success
  • The channels and distribution tactics you'll use

It can help to already have a marketing plan built out to help you with this part of your business plan.

Marketing Strategy Business Plan Example

This business plan example includes the marketing strategy for the town of Gawler. It offers a comprehensive picture of how it plans to use digital marketing to promote the community.

Business plans examples: Marketing Strategy

Tips for Writing Your Marketing Strategy

  • Include a section about how you believe your brand vision will appeal to customers.
  • Add the budget and resources you'll need to put your plan in place.
  • Outline strategies for specific marketing segments.
  • Connect strategies to earlier sections like target audience and competitive analysis.
  • Review how your marketing strategy will scale with the growth of your business.
  • Cover a range of channels and tactics to highlight your ability to adapt your plan in the face of change.

6. Key Features and Benefits

At some point in your business plan, you'll review the key features and benefits of your products and/or services. Laying these out can give readers an idea of how you're positioning yourself in the market and the messaging you're likely to use . It can even help them gain better insight into your business model.

Key Features and Benefits Business Plan Example

The example below outlines products and services for this business, along with why these qualities will attract the audience.

Business plans examples: Key Features and Benefits

Tips for Writing Your Key Features and Benefits

  • Emphasize why and how your product or service offers value to customers.
  • Use metrics and testimonials to support the ideas in this section.
  • Talk about how your products and services have the potential to scale.
  • Think about including a product roadmap.
  • Focus on customer needs, and how the features and benefits you are sharing meet those needs.
  • Offer proof of concept for your ideas, like case studies or pilot program feedback.
  • Proofread this section carefully, and remove any jargon or complex language.

7. Pricing and Revenue

This is where you'll discuss your cost structure and various revenue streams. Your pricing strategy must be solid enough to turn a profit while staying competitive in the industry. For this reason, you might outline:

  • The specific pricing breakdowns per product or service
  • Why your pricing is higher or lower than your competition's
  • (If higher) Why customers would be willing to pay more
  • (If lower) How you're able to offer your products or services at a lower cost
  • When you expect to break even, what margins do you expect, etc?

Pricing and Revenue Business Plan Example

This business plan example begins with an overview of the business revenue model, then shows proposed pricing for key products.

Business plans examples: Pricing and Revenue

Tips for Writing Your Pricing and Revenue Section

  • Get specific about your pricing strategy. Specifically, how you connect that strategy to customer needs and product value.
  • If you are asking a premium price, share unique features or innovations that justify that price point.
  • Show how you plan to communicate pricing to customers.
  • Create an overview of every revenue stream for your business and how each stream adds to your business model as a whole.
  • Share plans to develop new revenue streams in the future.
  • Show how and whether pricing will vary by customer segment and how pricing aligns with marketing strategies.
  • Restate your value proposition and explain how it aligns with your revenue model.

8. Financials

This section is particularly informative for investors and leadership teams to figure out funding strategies, investment opportunities, and more. According to Forbes , you'll want to include three main things:

  • Profit/Loss Statement - This answers the question of whether your business is currently profitable.
  • Cash Flow Statement - This details exactly how much cash is incoming and outgoing to give insight into how much cash a business has on hand.
  • Balance Sheet - This outlines assets, liabilities, and equity, which gives insight into how much a business is worth.

While some business plans might include more or less information, these are the key details you'll want to include.

Financials Business Plan Example

This balance sheet example shows the level of detail you will need to include in the financials section of your business plan:

Business plans examples: Financials

Tips for Writing Your Financials Section

  • Growth potential is important in this section too. Using your data, create a forecast of financial performance in the next three to five years.
  • Include any data that supports your projections to assure investors of the credibility of your proposal.
  • Add a break-even analysis to show that your business plan is financially practical. This information can also help you pivot quickly as your business grows.
  • Consider adding a section that reviews potential risks and how sensitive your plan is to changes in the market.
  • Triple-check all financial information in your plan for accuracy.
  • Show how any proposed funding needs align with your plans for growth.

As you create your business plan, keep in mind that each of these sections will be formatted differently. Some may be in paragraph format, while others could be charts or graphs.

Business Plan Types

The formats above apply to most types of business plans. That said, the format and structure of your plan will vary by your goals for that plan. So, we’ve added a quick review of different business plan types. For a more detailed overview, check out this post .

1. Startups

Startup business plans are for proposing new business ideas.

If you’re planning to start a small business, preparing a business plan is crucial. The plan should include all the major factors of your business. You can check out this guide for more detailed business plan inspiration .

2. Feasibility Studies

Feasibility business plans focus on that business's product or service. Feasibility plans are sometimes added to startup business plans. They can also be a new business plan for an already thriving organization.

3. Internal Use

You can use internal business plans to share goals, strategies, or performance updates with stakeholders. Internal business plans are useful for alignment and building support for ambitious goals.

4. Strategic Initiatives

Another business plan that's often for sharing internally is a strategic business plan. This plan covers long-term business objectives that might not have been included in the startup business plan.

5. Business Acquisition or Repositioning

When a business is moving forward with an acquisition or repositioning, it may need extra structure and support. These types of business plans expand on a company's acquisition or repositioning strategy.

Growth sometimes just happens as a business continues operations. But more often, a business needs to create a structure with specific targets to meet set goals for expansion. This business plan type can help a business focus on short-term growth goals and align resources with those goals.

Sample Business Plan Templates

Now that you know what's included and how to format a business plan, let's review some templates.

1. HubSpot's One-Page Business Plan

Download a free, editable one-page business plan template..

The business plan linked above was created here at HubSpot and is perfect for businesses of any size — no matter how many strategies we still have to develop.

Fields such as Company Description, Required Funding, and Implementation Timeline give this one-page business plan a framework for how to build your brand and what tasks to keep track of as you grow. Then, as the business matures, you can expand on your original business plan with a new iteration of the above document.

Why We Like It

This one-page business plan is a fantastic choice for the new business owner who doesn’t have the time or resources to draft a full-blown business plan. It includes all the essential sections in an accessible, bullet-point-friendly format. That way, you can get the broad strokes down before honing in on the details.

2. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

Sample business plan: hubspot free editable pdf

We also created a business plan template for entrepreneurs.

The template is designed as a guide and checklist for starting your own business. You’ll learn what to include in each section of your business plan and how to do it. There’s also a list for you to check off when you finish each section of your business plan.

Strong game plans help coaches win games and help businesses rocket to the top of their industries. So if you dedicate the time and effort required to write a workable and convincing business plan, you’ll boost your chances of success and even dominance in your market.

This business plan kit is essential for the budding entrepreneur who needs a more extensive document to share with investors and other stakeholders. It not only includes sections for your executive summary, product line, market analysis, marketing plan, and sales plan, but it also offers hands-on guidance for filling out those sections.

3. LiveFlow’s Financial Planning Template with built-in automation

Sample Business Plan: LiveFLow

This free template from LiveFlow aims to make it easy for businesses to create a financial plan and track their progress on a monthly basis. The P&L Budget versus Actual format allows users to track their revenue, cost of sales, operating expenses, operating profit margin, net profit, and more.

The summary dashboard aggregates all of the data put into the financial plan sheet and will automatically update when changes are made. Instead of wasting hours manually importing your data to your spreadsheet, LiveFlow can also help you to automatically connect your accounting and banking data directly to your spreadsheet, so your numbers are always up-to-date.

With the dashboard, you can view your runway, cash balance, burn rate, gross margins, and other metrics. Having a simple way to track everything in one place will make it easier to complete the financials section of your business plan.

This is a fantastic template to track performance and alignment internally and to create a dependable process for documenting financial information across the business. It’s highly versatile and beginner-friendly. It’s especially useful if you don’t have an accountant on the team. (We always recommend you do, but for new businesses, having one might not be possible.)

4. ThoughtCo’s Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: ThoughtCo.

One of the more financially oriented sample business plans in this list, BPlan’s free business plan template dedicates many of its pages to your business’s financial plan and financial statements.

After filling this business plan out, your company will truly understand its financial health and the steps you need to take to maintain or improve it.

We absolutely love this business plan template because of its ease-of-use and hands-on instructions (in addition to its finance-centric components). If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of writing an entire business plan, consider using this template to help you with the process.

6. Harvard Business Review’s "How to Write a Winning Business Plan"

Most sample business plans teach you what to include in your business plan, but this Harvard Business Review article will take your business plan to the next level — it teaches you the why and how behind writing a business plan.

With the guidance of Stanley Rich and Richard Gumpert, co-authors of " Business Plans That Win: Lessons From the MIT Enterprise Forum ", you'll learn how to write a convincing business plan that emphasizes the market demand for your product or service. You’ll also learn the financial benefits investors can reap from putting money into your venture rather than trying to sell them on how great your product or service is.

This business plan guide focuses less on the individual parts of a business plan, and more on the overarching goal of writing one. For that reason, it’s one of our favorites to supplement any template you choose to use. Harvard Business Review’s guide is instrumental for both new and seasoned business owners.

7. HubSpot’s Complete Guide to Starting a Business

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know writing a business plan is one of the most challenging first steps to starting a business. Fortunately, with HubSpot's comprehensive guide to starting a business, you'll learn how to map out all the details by understanding what to include in your business plan and why it’s important to include them. The guide also fleshes out an entire sample business plan for you.

If you need further guidance on starting a business, HubSpot's guide can teach you how to make your business legal, choose and register your business name, and fund your business. It will also give small business tax information and includes marketing, sales, and service tips.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through the process of starting a business, in addition to writing your business plan, with a high level of exactitude and detail. So if you’re in the midst of starting your business, this is an excellent guide for you. It also offers other resources you might need, such as market analysis templates.

8. Panda Doc’s Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Panda Doc

PandaDoc’s free business plan template is one of the more detailed and fleshed-out sample business plans on this list. It describes what you should include in each section, so you don't have to come up with everything from scratch.

Once you fill it out, you’ll fully understand your business’ nitty-gritty details and how all of its moving parts should work together to contribute to its success.

This template has two things we love: comprehensiveness and in-depth instructions. Plus, it’s synced with PandaDoc’s e-signature software so that you and other stakeholders can sign it with ease. For that reason, we especially love it for those starting a business with a partner or with a board of directors.

9. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

sample business plan: Small Business Administration

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers several free business plan templates that can be used to inspire your own plan. Before you get started, you can decide what type of business plan you need — a traditional or lean start-up plan.

Then, you can review the format for both of those plans and view examples of what they might look like.

We love both of the SBA’s templates because of their versatility. You can choose between two options and use the existing content in the templates to flesh out your own plan. Plus, if needed, you can get a free business counselor to help you along the way.

Top Business Plan Examples

Here are some completed business plan samples to get an idea of how to customize a plan for your business. We’ve chosen different types of business plan ideas to expand your imagination. Some are extensive, while others are fairly simple.

Take a look.

1. LiveFlow

business plan example: liveflow

One of the major business expenses is marketing. How you handle your marketing reflects your company’s revenue. We included this business plan to show you how you can ensure your marketing team is aligned with your overall business plan to get results. The plan also shows you how to track even the smallest metrics of your campaigns, like ROI and payback periods instead of just focusing on big metrics like gross and revenue.

Fintech startup, LiveFlow, allows users to sync real-time data from its accounting services, payment platforms, and banks into custom reports. This eliminates the task of pulling reports together manually, saving teams time and helping automate workflows.

When it came to including marketing strategy in its business plan, LiveFlow created a separate marketing profit and loss statement (P&L) to track how well the company was doing with its marketing initiatives. This is a great approach, allowing businesses to focus on where their marketing dollars are making the most impact.

"Using this framework over a traditional marketing plan will help you set a profitable marketing strategy taking things like CAC, LTV, Payback period, and P&L into consideration," explains LiveFlow co-founder, Lasse Kalkar .

Having this information handy will enable you to build out your business plan’s marketing section with confidence. LiveFlow has shared the template here . You can test it for yourself.

2. Lula Body

Business plan example: Lula body

Sometimes all you need is a solid mission statement and core values to guide you on how to go about everything. You do this by creating a business plan revolving around how to fulfill your statement best. For example, Patagonia is an eco-friendly company, so their plan discusses how to make the best environmentally friendly products without causing harm.

A good mission statement should not only resonate with consumers but should also serve as a core value compass for employees as well.

Outdoor clothing retailer, Patagonia, has one of the most compelling mission statements we’ve seen:

"Together, let’s prioritise purpose over profit and protect this wondrous planet, our only home."

It reels you in from the start, and the environmentally friendly theme continues throughout the rest of the statement.

This mission goes on to explain that they are out to "Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, and use business to protect nature."

Their mission statement is compelling and detailed, with each section outlining how they will accomplish their goal.

4. Vesta Home Automation

business plan example: Vesta executive summary

This is the kind of business plan you need when applying for business funds. It clearly illustrates the expected future of the company and how the business has been coming along over the years.

This executive summary for a smart home device startup is part of a business plan created by students at Mount Royal University . While it lacks some of the sleek visuals of the templates above, its executive summary does a great job of demonstrating how invested they are in the business.

Right away, they mention they’ve invested $200,000 into the company already, which shows investors they have skin in the game and aren’t just looking for someone else to foot the bill.

5. NALB Creative Center

business plan examples: nalb creative center

This fictional business plan for an art supply store includes everything one might need in a business plan: an executive summary, a company summary, a list of services, a market analysis summary, and more. Due to its comprehensiveness, it’s an excellent example to follow if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store and need to get external funding to start your business .

One of its most notable sections is its market analysis summary, which includes an overview of the population growth in the business’ target geographical area, as well as a breakdown of the types of potential customers they expect to welcome at the store. This sort of granular insight is essential for understanding and communicating your business’s growth potential. Plus, it lays a strong foundation for creating relevant and useful buyer personas .

It’s essential to keep this information up-to-date as your market and target buyer changes. For that reason, you should carry out market research as often as possible to ensure that you’re targeting the correct audience and sharing accurate information with your investors.

6. Curriculum Companion Suites (CSS)

business plan examples: curriculum companion suites

If you’re looking for a SaaS business plan example, look no further than this business plan for a fictional educational software company called Curriculum Companion Suites. Like the business plan for the NALB Creative Center, it includes plenty of information for prospective investors and other key stakeholders in the business.

One of the most notable features of this business plan is the executive summary, which includes an overview of the product, market, and mission. The first two are essential for software companies because the product offering is so often at the forefront of the company’s strategy. Without that information being immediately available to investors and executives, then you risk writing an unfocused business plan.

It’s also essential to front-load your company’s mission if it explains your "Why?" In other words, why do you do what you do, and why should stakeholders care? This is an important section to include if you feel that your mission will drive interest in the business and its offerings.

7. Culina Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: Culina

Culina's sample business plan is an excellent example of how to lay out your business plan so that it flows naturally, engages readers, and provides the critical information investors and stakeholders need. You can also use this template as a guide while you're gathering important details. After looking at this sample, you'll have a better understanding of the data and research you need to do for your own business plan.

8. Plum Sample Business Plan

Sample business plan: Plum

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How to Write a Business Plan, Step by Step

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1. Write an executive summary

2. describe your company, 3. state your business goals, 4. describe your products and services, 5. do your market research, 6. outline your marketing and sales plan, 7. perform a business financial analysis, 8. make financial projections, 9. add additional information to an appendix, business plan tips and resources.

A business plan is a document that outlines your business’s financial goals and explains how you’ll achieve them. A strong, detailed plan will provide a road map for the business’s next three to five years, and you can share it with potential investors, lenders or other important partners.


ZenBusiness: Start Your Dream Business

Here’s a step-by-step guide to writing your business plan.

» Need help writing? Learn about the best business plan software .

This is the first page of your business plan. Think of it as your elevator pitch. It should include a mission statement, a brief description of the products or services offered, and a broad summary of your financial growth plans.

Though the executive summary is the first thing your investors will read, it can be easier to write it last. That way, you can highlight information you’ve identified while writing other sections that go into more detail.

» MORE: How to write an executive summary in 6 steps

Next up is your company description, which should contain information like:

Your business’s registered name.

Address of your business location .

Names of key people in the business. Make sure to highlight unique skills or technical expertise among members of your team.

Your company description should also define your business structure — such as a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation — and include the percent ownership that each owner has and the extent of each owner’s involvement in the company.

Lastly, it should cover the history of your company and the nature of your business now. This prepares the reader to learn about your goals in the next section.

» MORE: How to write a company overview for a business plan

The third part of a business plan is an objective statement. This section spells out exactly what you’d like to accomplish, both in the near term and over the long term.

If you’re looking for a business loan or outside investment, you can use this section to explain why you have a clear need for the funds, how the financing will help your business grow, and how you plan to achieve your growth targets. The key is to provide a clear explanation of the opportunity presented and how the loan or investment will grow your company.

For example, if your business is launching a second product line, you might explain how the loan will help your company launch the new product and how much you think sales will increase over the next three years as a result.

In this section, go into detail about the products or services you offer or plan to offer.

You should include the following:

An explanation of how your product or service works.

The pricing model for your product or service.

The typical customers you serve.

Your supply chain and order fulfillment strategy.

Your sales strategy.

Your distribution strategy.

You can also discuss current or pending trademarks and patents associated with your product or service.

Lenders and investors will want to know what sets your product apart from your competition. In your market analysis section , explain who your competitors are. Discuss what they do well, and point out what you can do better. If you’re serving a different or underserved market, explain that.

Here, you can address how you plan to persuade customers to buy your products or services, or how you will develop customer loyalty that will lead to repeat business.

business plan work ideas

» MORE: R e a d our complete guide to small business marketing

If you’re a startup, you may not have much information on your business financials yet. However, if you’re an existing business, you’ll want to include income or profit-and-loss statements, a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts, and a cash flow statement that shows how cash comes into and goes out of the company.

You may also include metrics such as:

Net profit margin: the percentage of revenue you keep as net income.

Current ratio: the measurement of your liquidity and ability to repay debts.

Accounts receivable turnover ratio: a measurement of how frequently you collect on receivables per year.

This is a great place to include charts and graphs that make it easy for those reading your plan to understand the financial health of your business.

» NerdWallet’s picks for setting up your business finances:

The best business checking accounts .

The best business credit cards .

The best accounting software .

This is a critical part of your business plan if you’re seeking financing or investors. It outlines how your business will generate enough profit to repay the loan or how you will earn a decent return for investors.

Here, you’ll provide your business’s monthly or quarterly sales, expenses and profit estimates over at least a three-year period — with the future numbers assuming you’ve obtained a new loan.

Accuracy is key, so carefully analyze your past financial statements before giving projections. Your goals may be aggressive, but they should also be realistic.

List any supporting information or additional materials that you couldn’t fit in elsewhere, such as resumes of key employees, licenses, equipment leases, permits, patents, receipts, bank statements, contracts and personal and business credit history. If the appendix is long, you may want to consider adding a table of contents at the beginning of this section.

Here are some tips to help your business plan stand out:

Avoid over-optimism: If you’re applying for a business loan at a local bank, the loan officer likely knows your market pretty well. Providing unreasonable sales estimates can hurt your chances of loan approval.

Proofread: Spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors can jump off the page and turn off lenders and prospective investors, taking their mind off your business and putting it on the mistakes you made. If writing and editing aren't your strong suit, you may want to hire a professional business plan writer, copy editor or proofreader.

Use free resources: SCORE is a nonprofit association that offers a large network of volunteer business mentors and experts who can help you write or edit your business plan. You can search for a mentor or find a local SCORE chapter for more guidance.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Development Centers , which provide free business consulting and help with business plan development, can also be a resource.

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How to write a business plan in seven simple steps

When written effectively, a business plan can help raise capital, inform decisions, and draw new talent.

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Companies of all sizes have one thing in common: They all began as small businesses.  Starting small  is the corner for those just getting off the ground. Learn about how to make that first hire, deal with all things administrative, and set yourself up for success.

Writing a business plan is often the first step in transforming your business from an idea into something tangible . As you write, your thoughts begin to solidify into strategy, and a path forward starts to emerge. But a business plan is not only the realm of startups; established companies can also benefit from revisiting and rewriting theirs. In any case, the formal documentation can provide the clarity needed to motivate staff , woo investors, or inform future decisions.  

No matter your industry or the size of your team, the task of writing a business plan—a document filled with so much detail and documentation—can feel daunting. Don’t let that stop you, however; there are easy steps to getting started. 

What is a business plan and why does it matter? 

A business plan is a formal document outlining the goals, direction, finances, team, and future planning of your business. It can be geared toward investors, in a bid to raise capital, or used as an internal document to align teams and provide direction. It typically includes extensive market research, competitor analysis, financial documentation, and an overview of your business and marketing strategy. When written effectively, a business plan can help prescribe action and keep business owners on track to meeting business goals. 

Who needs a business plan?

A business plan can be particularly helpful during a company’s initial growth and serve as a guiding force amid the uncertainty, distractions, and at-times rapid developments involved in starting a business . For enterprise companies, a business plan should be a living, breathing document that guides decision-making and facilitates intentional growth.

“You should have a game plan for every major commitment you’ll have, from early-stage founder agreements to onboarding legal professionals,” says Colin Keogh, CEO of the Rapid Foundation—a company that brings technology and training to communities in need—and a WeWork Labs mentor in the UK . “You can’t go out on funding rounds or take part in accelerators without any planning.”

How to make a business plan and seven components every plan needs

While there is no set format for writing a business plan, there are several elements that are typically included. Here’s what’s important to consider when writing your business plan. 

1. Executive summary 

No longer than half a page, the executive summary should briefly introduce your business and describe the purpose of the business plan. Are you writing the plan to attract capital? If so, specify how much money you hope to raise, and how you’re going to repay the loan. If you’re writing the plan to align your team and provide direction, explain at a high level what you hope to achieve with this alignment, as well as the size and state of your existing team.

The executive summary should explain what your business does, and provide an introductory overview of your financial health and major achievements to date.  

2. Company description 

To properly introduce your company, it’s important to also describe the wider industry. What is the financial worth of your market? Are there market trends that will affect the success of your company? What is the state of the industry and its future potential? Use data to support your claims and be sure to include the full gamut of information—both positive and negative—to provide investors and your employees a complete and accurate portrayal of your company’s milieu. 

Go on to describe your company and what it provides your customers. Are you a sole proprietor , LLC, partnership, or corporation? Are you an established company or a budding startup? What does your leadership team look like and how many employees do you have? This section should provide both historical and future context around your business, including its founding story, mission statement , and vision for the future. 

It’s essential to showcase your point of difference in your company description, as well as any advantages you may have in terms of expert talent or leading technology. This is typically one of the first pieces of the plan to be written.

3. Market analysis and opportunity

Research is key in completing a business plan and, ideally, more time should be spent on research and analysis than writing the plan itself. Understanding the size, growth, history, future potential, and current risks inherent to the wider market is essential for the success of your business, and these considerations should be described here. 

In addition to this, it’s important to include research into the target demographic of your product or service. This might be in the form of fictional customer personas, or a broader overview of the income, location, age, gender, and buying habits of your existing and potential customers. 

Though the research should be objective, the analysis in this section is a good place to reiterate your point of difference and the ways you plan to capture the market and surpass your competition.

4. Competitive analysis 

Beyond explaining the elements that differentiate you from your competition, it’s important to provide an in-depth analysis of your competitors themselves.

This research should delve into the operations, financials, history, leadership, and distribution channels of your direct and indirect competitors. It should explore the value propositions of these competitors, and explain the ways you can compete with, or exploit, their strengths and weaknesses. 

5. Execution plan: operations, development, management 

This segment provides details around how you’re going to do the work necessary to fulfill this plan. It should include information about your organizational structure and the everyday operations of your team, contractors, and physical and digital assets.

Consider including your company’s organizational chart, as well as more in-depth information on the leadership team: Who are they? What are their backgrounds? What do they bring to the table? Potentially include the résumés of key people on your team. 

For startups, your execution plan should include how long it will take to begin operations, and then how much longer to reach profitability. For established companies, it’s a good idea to outline how long it will take to execute your plan, and the ways in which you will change existing operations.

If applicable, it’s also beneficial to include your strategy for hiring new team members and scaling into different markets. 

6. Marketing plan 

It’s essential to have a comprehensive marketing plan in place as you scale operations or kick off a new strategy—and this should be shared with your stakeholders and employees. This segment of your business plan should show how you’re going to promote your business, attract customers, and retain existing clients.

Include brand messaging, marketing assets, and the timeline and budget for engaging consumers across different channels. Potentially include a marketing SWOT analysis into your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Evaluate the way your competitors market themselves, and how your target audience responds—or doesn’t respond—to these messages.

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7. Financial history and projections  

It’s essential to disclose all finances involved in running your company within your business plan. This is so your shareholders properly understand how you’re projected to perform going forward, and the progress you’ve made so far. 

You should include your income statement, which outlines annual net profits or losses; a cash flow statement, which shows how much money you need to launch or scale operations; and a balance sheet that shows financial liabilities and assets. 

“An income statement is the measure of your financial results for a certain period and the most accurate report of business activities during that time, [whereas a balance sheet] presents your assets, liabilities, and equity,” Amit Perry, a corporate finance expert, explained at a WeWork Labs educational session in Israel.

It’s crucial to understand the terms correctly so you know how to present your finances when you’re speaking to investors. Amit Perry, CEO and founder of Perryllion Ltd.

In addition, if you’re asking for funding, you will need to outline exactly how much money you need as well as where this money will go and how you plan to pay it back. 

12 quick tips for writing a business plan 

Now that you know what components are traditionally included in a business plan, it’s time to consider how you’ll actually construct the document.

Here are 12 key factors to keep in mind when writing a business plan. These overarching principles will help you write a business plan that serves its purpose (whatever that may be) and becomes an easy reference in the years ahead. 

1. Don’t be long-winded

Use clear, concise language and avoid jargon. When business plans are too long-winded, they’re less likely to be used as intended and more likely to be forgotten or glazed over by stakeholders. 

2. Show why you care

Let your passion for your business shine through; show employees and investors why you care (and why they should too). 

3. Provide supporting documents

Don’t be afraid to have an extensive list of appendices, including the CVs of team members, built-out customer personas, product demonstrations, and examples of internal or external messaging. 

4. Reference data

All information regarding the market, your competitors, and your customers should reference authoritative and relevant data points.  

5. Research, research, research

The research that goes into your business plan should take you longer than the writing itself. Consider tracking your research as supporting documentation. 

6. Clearly demonstrate your points of difference

At every opportunity, it’s important to drive home the way your product or service differentiates you from your competition and helps solve a problem for your target audience. Don’t shy away from reiterating these differentiating factors throughout the plan. 

7. Be objective in your research

As important as it is to showcase your company and the benefits you provide your customers, it’s also important to be objective in the data and research you reference. Showcase the good and the bad when it comes to market research and your financials; you want your shareholders to know you’ve thought through every possible contingency. 

8. Know the purpose of your plan

It’s important you understand the purpose of your plan before you begin researching and writing. Be clear about whether you’re writing this plan to attract investment, align teams, or provide direction. 

9. Identify your audience

The same way your business plan must have a clearly defined purpose, you must have a clearly defined audience. To whom are you writing? New investors? Current employees? Potential collaborators? Existing shareholders? 

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10. Avoid jargon

Avoid using industry-specific jargon, unless completely unavoidable, and try making your business plan as easy to understand as possible—for all potential stakeholders. 

11. Don’t be afraid to change it

Your business plan should evolve with your company’s growth, which means your business plan document should evolve as well. Revisit and rework your business plan as needed, and remember the most important factor: having a plan in place, even if it changes.

A business plan shouldn’t just be a line on your to-do list; it should be referenced and used as intended going forward. Keep your business plan close, and use it to inform decisions and guide your team in the years ahead. 

Creating a business plan is an important step in growing your company 

Whether you’re just starting out or running an existing operation, writing an effective business plan can be a key predictor of future success. It can be a foundational document from which you grow and thrive . It can serve as a constant reminder to employees and clients about what you stand for, and the direction in which you’re moving. Or, it can prove to investors that your business, team, and vision are worth their investment. 

No matter the size or stage of your business, WeWork can help you fulfill the objectives outlined in your business plan—and WeWork’s coworking spaces can be a hotbed for finding talent and investors, too. The benefits of coworking spaces include intentionally designed lounges, conference rooms, and private offices that foster connection and bolster creativity, while a global network of professionals allows you to expand your reach and meet new collaborators. 

Using these steps to write a business plan will put you in good stead to not only create a document that fulfills a purpose but one that also helps to more clearly understand your market, competition, point of difference, and plan for the future. 

For more tips on growing teams and building a business, check out all our articles on  Ideas by WeWork.

Caitlin Bishop is a writer for WeWork’s  Ideas by WeWork , based in New York City. Previously, she was a journalist and editor at  Mamamia  in Sydney, Australia, and a contributing reporter at  Gotham Gazette .

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15+ Business Plan Examples to Win Your Next Round of Funding

By Jennifer Gaskin , Jun 09, 2021

15+ Business Plan Examples to Win Your Next Round of Funding Blog Header

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail,” according to words of wisdom dubiously attributed to Benjamin Franklin. While there’s no solid evidence that Franklin actually coined this phrase, the sentiment rings true for any business.

Not having a solid plan makes it unlikely you’ll achieve the goals you seek, whether the goals are getting your to-do list done or launching a successful organization.

In the early stages of a company, that means developing things like pitch decks, business plans, one-sheeters and more. With Venngage’s Business Plan Builder , you can easily organize your business plan into a visually appealing format that can help you win over investors, lenders or partners.

Learn more about  how to create a business plan  so you can hit the ground running after reading through this list for inspirational examples of business plans.


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Simple business plan example, startup business plan example, small business plan example, nonprofit business plan example, strategic business plan example, market analysis business plan example, sales business plan example, organization and management business plan example, marketing and sales strategy business plan example, apple business plan example, airbnb business plan example, sequoia capital business plan example.

While your business plan should be supported by thorough and exhaustive research into your market and competitors, the resulting document does not have to be overwhelming for the reader. In fact, if you can boil your business plan down to a few key pages, all the better.

business plan example


The simple, bold visual aesthetic of this  business plan template  pairs well with the straightforward approach to the content and various elements of the business plan itself.

Use Venngage’s My Brand Kit  to automatically add your brand colors and fonts to your business plan with just a few clicks.

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An essential startup business plan should include a clear and compelling value proposition, market analysis, competitive analysis, target audience identification, financial projections, and a well-defined marketing and operational strategy.

For a typical startup, the need to appear disruptive in the industry is important. After all, if you’re not offering anything truly new, why would an investor turn their attention toward your organization. That means establishing a problem and the ways in which you solve it right away.

business plan example


Whether it’s a full-scale business plan or, in this case, a pitch deck, the ideal way for a startup to make a splash with its plans is to be bold. This successful business plan example is memorable and aspirational.

In the Venngage editor, you can upload images of your business. Add these images to your plans and reports to make them uniquely your own.

All businesses start out small at first, but that doesn’t mean their communications have to be small. One of the best ways to get investors, lenders and talent on board is to show that you’ve done your due diligence.

business plan example

In this small business plan example, the content is spread over many pages, which is useful in making lengthy, in-depth research feel less like a chore than packing everyone on as few pages as possible.

Organizations that set out to solve problems rather than earning profits also benefit from creating compelling business plans that stir an emotional response in potential donors, benefactors, potential staff members or even media.

business plan example


Simplicity is the goal for nonprofits when it comes to business plans, particularly in their early days. Explain the crisis at hand and exactly how your organization will make a difference, which will help donors visualize how their money will be used to help.

Business plans are also helpful for companies that have been around for a while. Whether they’re considering new products to launch or looking for new opportunities, companies can approach business plans from the strategy side of the equation as well.

business plan example

Strategic business plans or strategy infographics should be highly focused on a single area or problem to be solved rather than taking a holistic approach to the entire business. Expanding scope too much can make a strategy seem too difficult to implement.

Easily share your business plan with Venngage’s multiple download options, including PNG, PNG HD, and as an interactive PDF.

One-page business plan example

For organizations with a simple business model, often a one-page business plan is all that’s needed. This is possible in any industry, but the most common are traditional ones like retail, where few complex concepts need to be explained.

business plan example

This one-page strategic business plan example could be easily replicated for an organization that offers goods or services across multiple channels or one with three core business areas. It’s a good business plan example for companies whose plans can be easily boiled down to a few bullet points per area.

Especially when entering a saturated market, understanding the landscape and players is crucial to understanding how your organization can fit it—and stand out. That’s why centering your business plan around a market analysis is often a good idea.

business plan example

In this example, the majority of the content and about half the pages are focused on the market analysis, including competitors, trends, pricing, demographics and more. This successful business plan example ensures the artwork and style used perfectly matches the company’s aesthetic, which further reinforces its position in the market.

You can find more memorable business plan templates to customize in the Venngage editor. Browse Venngage’s  business plan templates  to find plans that work for you and start editing.

Company description business plan example

Depending on the market, focusing on your company story and what makes you different can drive your narrative home with potential investors. By focusing your business plan on a company description, you center yourself and your organization in the minds of your audience.

business plan example

This abbreviated plan is a good business plan example. It uses most of the content to tell the organization’s story. In addition to background about the company, potential investors or clients can see how this design firm’s process is different from their rivals.

With Venngage Business , you can collaborate with team members in real-time to create a business plan that will be effective when presenting to investors.

Five-year business plan example

For most startups or young companies, showing potential investors or partners exactly how and when the company will become profitable is a key aspect of presenting a business plan. Whether it’s woven into a larger presentation or stands alone, you should be sure to include your five-year business plan so investors know you’re looking far beyond the present.

business plan example


With Venngage’s Business Plan Builder , you can customize a schedule like this to quickly illustrate for investors or partners what your revenue targets are for the first three to five years your company is in operation.

The lifeblood of any company is the sales team. These are the energetic folks who bring in new business, develop leads and turn prospects into customers. Focusing your energy on creating a sales business plan would prove to investors that you understand what will make your company money.

business plan example

In this example sales business plan, several facets of ideal buyers are detailed. These include a perfect customer profile that helps to convey to your audience that customer relationships will be at the heart of your operation.

You can include business infographics in your plan to visualize your goals. And with Venngage’s gallery of images and icons, you can customize the template to better reflect your business ethos.

Company mergers and shakeups are also major reasons for organizations to require strong business planning. Creating new departments, deciding which staff to retain and charting a course forward can be even more complex than starting a business from scratch.

business plan example

This organization and management business plan focuses on how the company can optimize operations through a few key organizational projects.

Executive summary for business plan example

Executive summaries give your business plan a strong human touch, and they set the tone for what’s to follow. That could mean having your executive leadership team write a personal note or singling out some huge achievements of which you’re particularly proud in a business plan infographic .

business plan example

In this executive summary for a business plan, a brief note is accompanied by a few notable achievements that signal the organization and leadership team’s authority in the industry.

Marketing and sales are two sides of the same coin, and clever companies know how they play off each other. That’s why centering your business plan around your marketing and sales strategy can pay dividends when it comes time to find investors and potential partners.

business plan example

This marketing and sales business plan example is the picture of a sleek, modern aesthetic, which is appropriate across many industries and will speak volumes to numbers-obsesses sales and marketing leaders.

Do business plans really help? Well, here’s some math for you; in 1981, Apple had just gone public and was in the midst of marketing an absolute flop , the Apple III computer.  The company’s market cap, or total estimated market value,  could hit $3 trillion this year.

Did this Apple business plan make the difference? No, it’s not possible to attribute the success of Apple entirely to this business plan from July 1981, but this ancient artifact goes to show that even the most groundbreaking companies need to take an honest stock of their situation.

business plan example

Apple’s 1981 business plan example pdf covers everything from the market landscape for computing to the products that founder Steve Jobs expects to roll out over the next few years, and the advanced analysis contained in the document shows how strategic Jobs and other Apple executives were in those early days.

Inviting strangers to stay in your house for the weekend seemed like a crazy concept before Airbnb became one of the world’s biggest companies. Like all disruptive startups, Airbnb had to create a robust, active system from nothing.

business plan example

As this Airbnb business plan pitch deck example shows, for companies that are introducing entirely new concepts, it’s helpful not to get too into the weeds. Explain the problem simply and boil down the essence of your solution into a few words; in this case, “A web platform where users can rent out their space” perfectly sums up this popular company.

Sequoia Capital is one of the most successful venture capital firms in the world, backing startups that now have a combined stock market value of more than $1 trillion, according to a Forbes analysis .

For young companies and startups that want to play in the big leagues, tailoring your pitch to something that would appeal to a company like Sequoia Capital is a good idea. That’s why the company has a standard business plan format it recommends .

business plan example

Using Sequoia Capital’s business plan example means being simple and clear with your content, like the above deck. Note how no slide contains much copy, and even when all slides appear on the screen at once, the text is legible.

In summary: Use Venngage to design business plans that will impress investors

Not every business plan, pitch deck or one-sheeter will net you billions in investment dollars, but every entrepreneur should be adept at crafting impressive, authoritative and informative business plans.

Whether you use one of the inspirational templates shared here or you want to go old school and mimic Apple’s 1981 business plan, using Venngage’s Business Plan Builder helps you bring your company’s vision to life.

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300+ Business Plan Examples

Below you can choose from over 300 free business plan examples within numerous industries. You’ll also learn the answers to key sample business plan questions and find tips on how to write your business plan. Finally, you’ll see a full-length business plan sample. Rest assured that you’re in good hands; over the past 20+ years, Growthink has helped over 1 million companies develop simple business plans to start and grow their businesses.  

Download our Ultimate Business Plan Template here

If you’d like an interactive, fill-in-the-blanks template that also automatically completes your financial projections, we recommend Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan .

This is particularly true if you’re looking for funding from a bank (traditional loan, line of credit, SBA loan, etc.), angel investors or venture capitalists .

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Answers to Key Sample Business Plan Questions

Shoutmouth business plan example, business plan examples by business category, clothing & fashion business plan templates.

Clothing Store Business Plan

Embroidery Business Plan

Fashion Business Plan

Jewelry Business Plan

Construction, Interior Design & Home Services Business Plan Templates

Consumer services business plan templates, business services business plan templates, events business plan templates.

Banquet Hall Business Plan

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Event Venue Business Plan

Party Rental Business Plan

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Table and Chair Rental Business Plan

Wedding Planning Business Plan

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Financial services business plan templates, fitness & beauty business plan templates, food & beverage business plan templates, medical & health business plan templates, music & entertainment business plan templates.

Music Business Plan

Party Bus Business Plan

Podcast Business Plan

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Recording Studio Business Plan

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Sample Nonprofit Business Plan PDF

Social Enterprise Business Plan

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Real Estate Investment Business Plan

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Technology business plan templates.

Blogging Business Plan

Clean Tech Business Plan

Mobile App Business Plan

Saas Business Plan

Software Company Business Plan

Technology Business Plan

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Bed and Breakfast Business Plan

Campground Business Plan

Glamping Business Plan

Hotel Business Plan

Mobile Home Park Business Plan

Resort Business Plan

RV Park Business Plan

Travel Agency Business Plan

1. Why is utilizing an example business plan a good idea?

Sample business plans can help you quickly and easily write a business plan for your own business. Business plans are an important tool for any business, but they can be challenging to create. Sample business plan will help you understand business plan format , how to utilize a business plan template , and more.

Business plan examples may even help you with the different sections of a plan, including market analysis, company description, cash flow statements/business financial statements, and more. Business plans can also show you how a quality plan in your exact business plan category is organized and shows you the appropriate business communications style to use when writing your business plan.

2. Who would benefit from using an example business plan?

Any entrepreneur or business owner who has never written a business plan before can benefit from an example or sample plan. New business owners often start with business plan templates , which are helpful but are sometimes more useful after reviewing other full business plans.

A good sample plan can be a step-by-step guide as you work on your business planning and business idea. Once you have a sense for the flow, specs, and details, etc. that business plans have, utilizing a business plan template will help you pull everything together, helping you create a plan investors and other stakeholders will value. A solid plan will also help you if you need a bank loan, which may require a startup business plan.

3. How do you get started with a sample business plan and maximize its benefit?

First you should read the business plan thoroughly. Study both the type of information provided in key sections like the executive summary, target market analysis, summary, etc., as well as the format and style of the plan. As you read, you may find yourself thinking through things such as improving or evaluating your business planning process, your business idea, or reconsidering who you want to write your business plan for. This is OK and part of the process. In fact, when you start writing a business plan for the first time, it will be much easier because you’ve gone through this process.

After this initial read, outline your business plan and copy in from the sample plan sections that apply to your business. For instance, if the sample plan included public relations in their marketing and sales plan, and you will also use this tactic, you can copy it into your plan and edit it as appropriate. Finally, answer the other questions answered in the sample plan in ways that reflect your unique business.

Writing a business plan can seem daunting. Starting your business plan writing process by reviewing a plan that’s already been created can remove a lot of mental and emotional barriers while helping you craft the best plan you can.

4. When should you not use a sample business plan?

If your business is unlike any other, using a sample business plan will not be as effective. In this situation, writing a business plan from scratch utilizing a business plan template is probably your best path forward.

As an example, Facebook’s early business plan was unlike others since it was paving a new path and way of doing business. But, groundbreaking new businesses like Facebook are not the norm, and the vast majority of companies will benefit from utilizing sample business plans.

How to Finish Your Business Plan in 1 Day!

Don’t you wish there was a faster, easier way to finish your business plan?

With Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template you can finish your plan in just 8 hours or less!

Need Someone to Develop Your Plan For You?

Since 1999, Growthink has developed business plans for thousands of companies who have gone on to achieve tremendous success.

Learn more about our professional business plan company and let us help you create a winning business plan for your company.

The business plan example below is for Shoutmouth, a company that enjoyed much success in the early 2000’s and which was able to raise funding. While the plan’s premise (social networking) is not as unique now as it was then, the format and structure of this business plan still holds.

I. Executive Summary

Business Overview

Launched in late February 2007, Shoutmouth.com is the most comprehensive music news website on the Internet .

Music is one of the most searched and accessed interests on the Internet. Top music artists like Akon receive over 3 million searches each month. In addition, over 500 music artists each receive over 25,000 searches a month.

However, music fans are largely unsatisfied when it comes to the news and information they seek on the artists they love. This is because most music websites (e.g., RollingStone.com, MTV.com, Billboard.com, etc.) cover only the top eight to ten music stories each day – the stories with mass appeal. This type of generic coverage does not satisfy the needs of serious music fans. Music fans generally listen to many different artists and genres of music. By publishing over 100 music stories each day, Shoutmouth enables these fans to read news on all their favorite artists.

In addition to publishing comprehensive music news on over 1200 music artists, Shoutmouth is a social network that allows fans to meet and communicate with other fans about music, and allows them to:

  • Create personal profiles
  • Interact with other members
  • Provide comments on news stories and music videos
  • Submit news stories and videos
  • Recommend new music artists to add to the community
  • Receive customized news and email alerts on their favorite artists

Success Factors

Shoutmouth is uniquely qualified to succeed due to the following reasons:

  • Entrepreneurial track record : Shoutmouth’s CEO and team have helped launch numerous successful ventures.
  • Affiliate marketing track record : Online affiliate marketing expertise has been cited as one of MySpace’s key success factors. Over the past two years, Shoutmouth’s founders have run one of the most successful online affiliate marketing programs, having sold products to over 500,000 music customers online.
  • Key milestones completed : Shoutmouth’s founders have invested $500,000 to-date to staff the company (we currently have an 11-person full-time team), build the core technology, and launch the site. We have succeeded in gaining initial customer traction with 50,000 unique visitors in March, 100,000 unique visitors in April, and 200,000 unique visitors in May 2007.

Unique Investment Metrics

The Shoutmouth investment opportunity is very exciting due to the metrics of the business.

To begin, over the past two years, over twenty social networks have been acquired. The value in these networks is their relationships with large numbers of customers, which allow acquirers to effectively sell to this audience.

The sales price of these social networks has ranged from $25 to $137 per member. Shoutmouth has the ability to enroll members at less than $1 each, thus providing an extraordinary return on marketing expenditures. In fact, during an April 2007 test, we were able to sign-up 2,000 members to artist-specific Shoutmouth newsletters at a cost of only 43 cents per member.

While we are building Shoutmouth to last, potential acquirers include many types of companies that seek relationships with music fans such as music media/publishing (e.g., MTV, Rolling Stone), ticketing (e.g., Ticketmaster, LiveNation) and digital music sales firms (e.g., iTunes, The Orchard).

Financial Strategy, Needs and Exit Strategy

While Shoutmouth’s technological, marketing and operational infrastructure has been developed, we currently require $3 million to execute on our marketing and technology plan over the next 24 months until we hit profitability.

Shoutmouth will primarily generate revenues from selling advertising space. As technologies evolve that allow us to seamlessly integrate music sampling and purchasing on our site, sales of downloadable music are also expected to become a significant revenue source. To a lesser extent, we may sell other music-related items such as ringtones, concert tickets, and apparel.

Topline projections over the next three years are as follows:

II. Shoutmouth Overview

What is Shoutmouth?

Shoutmouth is an operating company of The Kisco Group Inc. (TKG). Since 2003, TKG has capitalized on web-based marketing opportunities via launching targeted websites and generating web-based leads. TKG revenues in 2005 exceeded $1.3 million and grew to $3.5 million in 2006. Shoutmouth is currently the sole focus of TKG; all other TKG business units have been divested.

Development of Shoutmouth began in August 2006 and the site officially launched on February 21, 2007. Shoutmouth (located at www.shoutmouth.com) is the most comprehensive music news community on the Internet. The website covers 1,200 popular bands and music artists and offers more than 100 new music articles each day. In addition to providing news, Shoutmouth is a web community. That is, Shoutmouth members can actively participate on the site, by doing things such as commenting on news stories and submitting their own stories.

The Market Size and Need for Shoutmouth

The music market is clearly vast. According to IFPI, which represents the recording industry worldwide, global music sales were $33.5 billion in 2005, with the U.S. accounting for $12.3 billion of that amount. Importantly, digitally music sales are seeing substantial growth, with IFPI reporting sales of $400 million in 2004, $1.1 billion in 2005 and $2 billion in 2006.

Online, music is the one of the most frequently searched and accessed interests. For example, according to Wordtracker, the music artist Eminem received over 1.7 million web searches in December 2006, while band Green Day received 534,000 searches.

To put these figures in perspective, top celebrities in other entertainment fields receive but a fraction of this search volume. For example, December 2006 search volumes for select sports stars and actors were as follows: Kobe Bryant, 122K; Tiger Woods, 88K; Cameron Diaz, 332K; and Tom Cruise, 82K.

Conversely, 225 music artists received over 100,000 searches in December 2006, and over 500 music artists received over 25,000 searches.

This data is corroborated by Nielsen BuzzMetrics which plots the most popular topics bloggers are posting about. The chart to the right plots September 25, 2006 to March 25, 2007 and shows how music dominates other entertainment sectors online.

When searching for music artists online, fans, which are primarily between the ages of 13 and 35, are looking for news, pictures, lyrics, videos and audio files. In addition, fans enjoy publicly voicing their opinions about music and interacting with other fans.

There is currently no website besides Shoutmouth that provides comprehensive music news. Currently, to get the latest news on their favorite artists, fans must visit the official websites or fan websites of each of the artists they like . Even then, it is unlikely that the fan will get all the news that has occurred. To solve this problem, Shoutmouth scours the web and uncovers news from thousands of web sites.

What Shoutmouth Does and Will Offer

As of May 2007, the site covers the 1,200 most popular music artists (popularity primarily based on the number of web searches over the past 12 months for each artist).

Shoutmouth currently offers members the ability to:

  • Read over 500 new music articles each week
  • Read special features such as album reviews, interviews, new album release dates, top quotes of the week and other special reports
  • Watch and rate music videos
  • Listen to select music audio clips
  • Comment on news stories and music videos
  • Submit news stories that they see/hear of elsewhere
  • Suggest new music artists to add to the site
  • View articles by music artist or by genre (current genres include Rock, Pop, Rap, R&B, Country, and Electronic)
  • Create a user profile that includes their favorite music artists, Shoutmouth friends, news stories submitted to Shoutmouth, and comments made. Members have the ability to find other members based on their favorite artists and via our search functions.
  • Receive customized news and email alerts. Members can customize their “My News” page to include only artists they specify. Likewise, they can choose to receive email alerts whenever there is a new story on one of their favorite artists.

While establishing itself as the premier music news community, Shoutmouth will embark on the more aggressive goal of becoming the premier music community online . To accomplish this, Shoutmouth will begin to offer additional content (more videos, audio, pictures, lyrics, etc.) and additional functionality (music compatibility testing (e.g., if you like this, you’ll like this), voting capabilities, member-to-member messaging, etc.). We have already begun mapping out our content and technology growths plans to achieve this goal upon financing.

Importantly, Shoutmouth expects to be able to add massive amounts of relevant content (e.g., lyrics, reviews, pictures, video files, audio files, etc.) via member submissions and moderation. This is the same way that YouTube has been able to quickly add millions of videos and Wikipedia has been able to add millions of articles. Importantly, since established music websites (e.g., MTV, RollingStone.com, Billboard.com, etc.) are not community based, they would have to hire thousands of staff members to rival the content that Shoutmouth will have.

How We Get and Publish Our News

Currently, news stories that appear on Shoutmouth are gathered from numerous online sources. Shoutmouth’s staff writers find these stories by using RSS and News feeds that cover thousands of websites. In addition, Shoutmouth community members have the ability to submit stories they find elsewhere.

Typical stories include factual information plus the insight of the author. Shoutmouth editors ensure that all stories are properly classified by artist and genre, and that duplicate articles are filtered out.

Over the past three months, Shoutmouth has developed a solid infrastructure, which we consider a core competitive advantage, that that allows us to provide comprehensive music news . This infrastructure includes:

  • Setting up hundreds of RSS feeds based on comprehensive research regarding sites from which to receive feeds
  • Training our editorial team regarding identifying a story and weeding out duplicates
  • Assigning music artists among our five-person editorial team to better manage work flow and avoid duplicate articles

We are working on a system to ensure that member-submitted articles are automatically routed to the appropriate member of Shoutmouth’s editorial team to improve our efficiencies further.

Shoutmouth’s Goal to Break News First

The majority (approximately 90%) of Shoutmouth’s articles are currently developed by our in-house editorial team, while the balance is submitted by members. In addition, virtually all of our articles are based on information gleaned from other websites. As such, we are generally not the first to publish news; however we are the first and only site to publish all the news in one easily-accessible place. The one current exception is news which is published on bands’ official MySpace pages; Shoutmouth generally publishes articles on this news 24 to 48 hours before it is reported by other news or music sites (due to our efficiencies in finding news).

Shoutmouth realizes that it will gain a key competitive advantage, and will generate significant market buzz, if it is able to report on music news stories before other media sources . To accomplish this, we have begun contacting publicity departments at record labels to gain direct access to music news. We expect these contacts to enable us to gain immediate and sometimes exclusive access to news which will help further establish Shoutmouth as the canonical source for music news. We also plan to more aggressively solicit member submissions of new, buzzworthy news events and will consider offering rewards for unique substantiated news (much the way paparazzi are compensated).

III. Competition in the Online Music Market

This section of the business plan provides an overview of the competitive landscape, discusses both indirect and direct competitors and then details Shoutmouth’s competitive advantages.

Because consumer demand for music on the Internet is so great, there are a vast number of music websites. In summary, we consider most sectors of the online music market (which are discussed below) to be indirect competitors and potentially partners, rather than direct competitors, because none of them focus on music news.

The reason we believe that no one focuses on music news is that it is very difficult to do. Because news is very important to music fans, most music websites offer news. However, they primarily get their news from organizations such as CNN, Reuters, the Associated Press and BBC. These large organizations only write about the music stories that have mass appeal, which traditionally amounts to 8-10 music news stories per day. However, since music fans are often zealots when it comes to their favorite artists, they are not merely interested in cover stories. For instance, a U2 fan cares about any U2 news, particularly news that a non-U2 fan might consider insignificant.

In fact, because Shoutmouth is the sole one-stop shop for getting comprehensive music news, there might be an opportunity to license our content to other music websites.

Sectors of the Online Music Market

Shoutmouth specifically comPs in the community-based music news market. While players in this market represent direct competitors, Shoutmouth faces indirect competitors in the following markets:

  • Community-Based Sites
  • Community-Based News Sites
  • Community-Based Music Sites
  • Traditional Music Websites
  • Official Artist and Fan Sites

Each of these markets is described below.

A. Community-Based Sites

Community-based sites, also known as social networking sites, are websites in which members can create profiles, leave comments throughout the site, and communicate with other members among other features.

A June 2006 report by Piper Jaffray entitled “Silk Road: Social Networking is Here to Stay” effectively sums up the power and longevity of social networking:

“We believe social networking sites have become a permanent part of the fabric of web applications and are rapidly becoming one of the most popular activities online, potentially impacting how other popular services such as email, IM, and maybe even search are accessed.

As a clear indication of the growth rate and scale of social networking, consider this: MySpace monthly page views have now surpassed MSN or AOL in the U.S. and are nearly 75% of the size of Yahoo!. Social networking has filled a gap that was left by all the existing portals and web services and it is fulfilling a very important and basic function for millions of users: allowing them to express themselves and connect with their friends, with the two functions tightly integrated.

The leading sites such as MySpace (News Corp), Facebook, and others are amassing significant power in the new landscape of the Internet and the existing Internet companies are likely to have to work with these newcomers as they may yield material control on the flow of traffic to other applications.”

Social networking sites such as MySpace.com, Facebook.com, Tagged.com, and TagWorld.com have educated consumers regarding the value of these sites and how to use them. Their success has spurred genre-specific social networks such as community-based/social networking news sites and music sites, which are discussed below.

Shoutmouth doesn’t view established social networking sites as competitors since these sites have a general focus. That is, members talk about all aspects of life, from dating to music to movies, etc. Conversely, Shoutmouth is solely focused on music.

B. Community-Based News Sites

Community-based news sites are sites in which members decide what’s newsworthy and what’s not. For instance, on Digg.com, the most prominent community-based news site, members “Digg” stories that they feel are most newsworthy. The stories that the community feels are most important rise to Digg’s homepage, while less important stories get little attention.

Digg’s one million members can submit stories, “digg” stories, and comment on stories. Digg focuses on general news with a slant towards technology, gaming and unique/sensational news. While Digg does have a Music area within its Entertainment section, this receives little focus. In fact, at the time of the writing of this plan, Digg’s music home page only includes one article submitted within the past 48 hours. Furthermore, Digg doesn’t pare down the music category into sub-categories such as Rock and individual music artists. Conversely, these sub-categories are the entire focus of Shoutmouth.

Other sites that are similar to Digg include Newsvine.com, Spotback.com and Gabbr.com. Of most relevance is the Digg-like site for music, Noisetap.com, which was launched by Ticketmaster in January 2007.

Like Digg, Noisetap.com allows members to submit and vote for music stories. Noisetap.com is organized by music genre and not by music artist. This most likely will not satisfy the needs of many music fans since they don’t have the ability to find news on the specific artists they care most about. Likewise, without a full-time staff actively researching and publishing news stories at the artist-level, Noisetap.com will never be able to offer the comprehensive news that Shoutmouth does.

While Shoutmouth is currently similar to community-based news sites in that members can submit stories and comment on the news they find most interesting, no established player in the market provides a comprehensive focus on music. In addition, Shoutmouth sees these sites as marketing partners as we have and will continue to submit our stories on them to increase our readership.

C. Community-Based Music Sites

There are many community-based music websites, although none focuses on music news such as Shoutmouth. Conversely, these sites generally give members the ability to create and listen to song play lists. The community acts to help individual members find new music and new friends based on similarities in their music tastes. Prominent sites in this genre include Last.fm, Finetune, Pandora, RadioBlogClub, MyStrands, iLike[1] and iJigg.

Last.fm is the most prominent community-based music site and is a good model with which to compare Shoutmouth. Likewise, we will benchmark our performance against Last.fm as we reach of goal of becoming the premier music news community and focus on becoming the premier music community.

According to Alexa, Last.fm is the 359th most visited site on the Internet. While Last.fm focuses on allowing members to create customized Internet stations based on their music tastes, the site has much additional content and social networking features. For instance, for each artist, Last.fm includes pictures, a bio, concert dates, discography, fans on Last.fm, and similar artists. Fans are also able to create journals and communicate with other fans. Key features that Last.fm doesn’t currently focus on include news and video.

D. Traditional Music Websites

Traditional music websites such as MTV.com, RollingStone.com, Billboard.com, NME.com, AOL Music, and Yahoo! Music tend to have many features such as news, reviews, pictures, videos and audio. While these sites are generally very well done and extremely popular, they are under-serving visitors in two core areas: music news and community .

These sites’ lack of music news stems from the difficulty in creating this news, specifically that it requires filtering through thousands of articles and websites to find relevant stories. Likewise, as discussed, these firms might wish to license our news content in the future.

Regarding community , none of the top music sites are thriving communities. Rather, either these sites offer no community features or they recently began offering select features (e.g., submitting reviews or commenting on articles). Even when available, the community features on these sites are afterthoughts and are not engrained within the core fabric of the sites.

While they haven’t been able to transform their current sites into communities, top music websites clearly understand the power of online music communities and have an appetite for them. For example, in January 2007, MTV invested in social networking website TagWorld. MTV also acquired RateMyProfessors.com and Quizilla.com (teen social network) in January 2007 and October 2006 respectively.

As mentioned previously, our vision is to build and incorporate additional technologies, and use our “army” of members to publish vast amounts of music content on Shoutmouth, in order to fully satisfy music fans and leapfrog traditional music sites in terms of their music content.

E. Official Artist and Fan Sites

Shoutmouth com’s with official music artist websites and fan websites. These sites often include news about the specific artist as well as pictures, videos and other relevant information.

On one hand, official music artist and fan websites are direct competitors to Shoutmouth. This is because some of these sites offer comprehensive news on the specific artist they cover. In addition, many offer forums, discussion boards or other ways to communicate with other fans.

However, two factors separate Shoutmouth from these types of sites: 1) breadth and 2) sophistication.

  • Breadth : Most music fans love more than one artist. As such, in order to get the news they want, they would have to visit/join multiple fan or artist websites rather than getting all of their news from Shoutmouth.
  • Sophistication : While some official music artist websites are technologically sophisticated, offering forums, networking and other worthwhile features, the majority of artist and fan websites have limited usability, functionality and networking ability. In fact, this deficiency has lead to the success of MusicToday, which provides front and back-end technology to power artist websites.

Specifically, MusicToday offers web design and hosting, develops sophisticated online stores, builds online fan clubs and offers web ticketing among other services to select top music artists such as Dave Matthews Band, Christina Aguilera, Kenny Chesney, Britney Spears and Usher. While offering sophisticated tools for select music artist websites, MusicToday offers little to no music news nor advanced social networking functions. For instance, the official Dave Matthews Band website offers less than one news story per month.

F. Direct Competitors: Community-Based Music News Sites

Shoutmouth’s direct competitors are other music news websites that have social or community features that allow users to join the site, submit articles, comment on articles, create public profiles and/or communicate with other members. Shoutmouth has identified one significant player who offers this service, AbsolutePunk.net.

AbsolutePunk.net has done a good job of building a user base (the site claims 125,000+ registered members and nearly 500,000 un-registered members). In addition, the user base is very active — the average story on their site receives approximately 20 comments. AbsolutePunk.net offers music news, reviews, pictures and interviews among other features.

On the negative side, AbsolutePunk.net’s articles are generally posted by one staff writer (as opposed to Shoutmouth’s five writers), most articles are simply one sentence posts rather than full articles, and no attempt seems to have been made to cover all news stories. In addition, the site only covers the punk music genre. Although “punk” is broadly defined on the site, the site doesn’t cater to genres such as R&B, rap and country among others, failing to satisfy the broader market.

AbsolutePunk.net is owned by Indieclick, a Los Angeles-based media company. According to the AbsolutePunk.net website, the site:

  • Has developed a loyal (72% return rate) reader base
  • 5,182,147 Posts
  • 163,535 Threads
  • 126,448 Members
  • 1,711 Artist Profiles
  • 20,774 Multimedia Files
  • Approx 76,000 visits per day.
  • Approx 276,000 pageviews per day.

Shoutmouth’s Competitive Advantage

In addition to being the first to fill the untapped market void for comprehensive music news, Shoutmouth’s competitive advantage in the market primarily includes the following:

Online Marketing Sophistication

Content Development Experience and Expertise

Shoutmouth’s team, primarily team members DL and PF, has operated an affiliate marketing business focusing on music for the past four years. Affiliate marketing is defined as a system of revenue sharing between one site (the affiliate) which features an ad or content designed to drive traffic to another site (the merchant). The affiliate receives a fee based on traffic to the merchant which converts to sales.

Our affiliate business has focused on connecting music fans, primarily aged 13 to 30, with music offers such as iPods and ringtones. Over the past two years, we have successful sold affiliated offers to over 500,000 customers. We have become a significant online advertiser, receiving Google’s “over 1 million leads” award, and are recognized as a major player among the top affiliate networks.

It is important to note that affiliate marketing success has been credited with part of MySpace’s success. This is because effective affiliate marketers understand how to drive and convert on Internet traffic.

Shoutmouth will employ its affiliate marketing techniques to drive traffic to Shoutmouth.com and enroll members. We will utilize technologies and proprietary techniques that allow us to monitor multiple metrics such as the cost per visitor, cost per member sign-up, etc., so that we can set and maintain profitable metrics.

Another venture that Shoutmouth team members, primarily PK and DL, launched was the development of over 3,000 niche websites. To create the content for these websites, we employed a virtual work force of over 90 researchers in India and 30 writers and editors in the US.

This experience taught us how to manage a large workforce, train writers to improve content quality and motivate a large group of people. These skill sets will be critical in allowing Shoutmouth to grow the content of the site, as developed by both staff and members, while maintaining quality standards.

IV. Marketing Plan

Shoutmouth’s marketing plan includes the following:

Online Advertising : Shoutmouth will initiate pay-per-click advertising campaigns on Google and Yahoo! in order to inexpensively drive traffic to the site. Specifically, Shoutmouth believes it can drive qualified traffic to the site for 20 cents per visitor and achieve a 20% member conversion rate, thus generating members at a cost of $1.00 per member.

Keys to Shoutmouth’s success in achieving this metric include:

  • Conducting thorough keyword research and advertising on appropriate keywords and keyword groups
  • Creating advertising text that maximizes click through rates
  • Creating landing pages that maximize conversions while maintaining the highest Google AdWords quality score possible
  • Closely monitoring conversions to quickly stop and/or modify unprofitable campaigns
  • Getting individuals to enter their email address to join the newsletter is much easier than getting them to join a site where they have to create a username, select a password, etc. As such, step one will be to get visitors to sign up for artist-specific newsletters.
  • Once on the newsletter distribution list, members will constantly receive messages (embedded in their daily newsletter) regarding the benefits of participating more on Shoutmouth.
  • Active Shoutmouth Membership: the constant reminders regarding Shoutmouth’s value proposition in the daily newsletters will influence members to participate more actively on the site (e.g., customize their profile, visit the site more often, etc.).

Invite-A-Friend : Shoutmouth is in the process of creating an aggressive invite-a-friend/member referral program. In doing so, we are following the lead of social movie community, Flixster, which grew to 5 million members within 10 months. It did this by encouraging members, during their initial registration process, to upload and send an invitation to multiple contacts in their email address books. The technology to develop this process is fairly complex and we expect to be completed with and to rollout this program in June 2007.

Direct Email Marketing : Shoutmouth will directly contact bloggers and prominent music fans we find online to tell them about Shoutmouth, encourage them to join, and encourage them to write about Shoutmouth on their blogs and online journals .

Creating/Distributing Buzzworthy/Viral Content : Shoutmouth plans to have several buzzworthy/viral articles (i.e., content that people would want to email to their friends since it is funny, interesting, etc.) on the site each day. With a single click, visitors will be able to send these articles to social bookmarking sites such as Digg.com or Fark.com, where these articles could receive widespread attention. In addition to our traditional news stories, Shoutmouth will also periodically create special reports/features in order to satisfy our members and visitors and to try to get widespread exposure.

An example of the power of such buzzworthy content, Shoutmouth has already succeeded in having two stories accepted by Fark and Digg, which have brought in over 50,000 unique visitors.

Super Fans/Street Team Development : Shoutmouth also plans to recruit “super fans.” Super fans are individuals who are passionate about a certain music artist/band and actively contribute articles and/or comments on Shoutmouth. We will recruit these fans, reward them with status (e.g., adding a gold Shoutmouth headphones image to their profile page) and encourage them to more aggressively promote the site by:

  • Submitting more news to Shoutmouth
  • Commenting on more articles on Shoutmouth
  • Growing the Shoutmouth community around their favorite artist(s) by actively recruiting new members to join the site (such as actively posting Shoutmouth-related comments on their MySpace pages, on other music forums, etc.)

Public Relations : Upon financing, Shoutmouth will hire a public relations firm to help us get mentions in media sources ranging from magazines, newspapers, radio, television and blogs. To date, we have developed and issued press releases via Billboard Publicity Wire which have been syndicated throughout the web. An effective PR firm will enable Shoutmouth to quickly reach a wide audience.

Widgets : Shoutmouth will create artist-specific and genre-specific music news widgets. For example, our U2 widget (see example on right) would include all of the recent U2 articles published on Shoutmouth. The widget can easily be placed on MySpace pages, blogs, etc. Each story title in the widget links to the full article on Shoutmouth.

Shoutmouth has great expectations for our widget. To begin, no such widget currently exists as there is no one place to get comprehensive news for specific music artists. Secondly, each time someone places a Shoutmouth widget on their blog or social networking page, it will effectively market Shoutmouth to a wide audience at zero cost to us.

V. Technology/Site Development Plan

This section provides a brief roadmap of the initial and future functionality of Shoutmouth.

Initial Site Functionality

The initial Shoutmouth website will include the following features:

  • Ability to submit and comment on news stories
  • Ability to suggest new music artists to add to the site
  • Ability to create user profiles
  • Ability to receive customized news and email alerts
  • Articles categorized by artist and core genre (e.g., Rock, Rap, Pop, etc.)
  • Music artist sections which includes News, Bio and Fans

Future Site Functionality

Shoutmouth will use news and basic functionality as the platform though which we will build a thriving music community. After initial launch, the Shoutmouth technology team will work on incorporating additional features such as:

  • Ability to message other members via the site (e.g., members will have an Inbox on the site)
  • Event calendars: members will receive online calendars. With the click of a button, the member will be able to add tour dates of their favorite artists/bands to their calendar.
  • Articles also categorized by sub-genre (e.g., Alternative Rock, West Coast Rap, etc.)
  • Music artist sections to also include videos, audio files, photo galleries, reviews and event calendars to which members can upload files and vote on top content.
  • Forums and member blogs
  • Music compatibility testing (suggestions on song/artists members might like)
  • Trivia quizzes
  • Music playlists

VI. Financial Plan

Revenue Model

During the first six months, Shoutmouth will not generate any revenues as it will not sell advertising space nor offer products for sale. This decision has been made to spur the growth of the Shoutmouth community. By initially positioning Shoutmouth more as a non-profit, for-the-people-by-the-people venture, members will be more prone to promote the site and invite their friends than if the site looks too commercial.

Starting in September 2007, Shoutmouth will primarily generate revenues from selling advertising space. As technologies (such as the Snocap music widget) evolve that allow us to seamlessly integrate music sampling and purchasing on our site, sales of downloadable music are also expected to be a significant revenue source. To a lesser extent, we may sell other music-related items such as ringtones, concert tickets, and apparel.

Funding To Date

To date, Shoutmouth’s founders have invested $500,000 in Shoutmouth, with which we have accomplished the following:

  • Built the site’s core technology
  • Hired and trained our core staff (we currently maintain an 11-person full-time team)
  • Populated the website with content (over 10,000 articles and 1,200 artist bios)
  • Generated brand awareness among music fans, including driving 50,000 unique visitors in March, 100,000 unique visitors in April, and 200,000 unique visitors in May 2007.

Funding Requirements/Use of Funds

Shoutmouth is currently seeking $3 million to provide funding for the next 24 months. At this point, the site will be profitable and can grow organically, or additional capital may be sought to more aggressively expand our member base.

The capital will be used as follows:

  • Execution of Marketing plan : in order for Shoutmouth to grow its visitor and member base, we need to invest dollars in online advertising and public relations. With regards to online advertising, we are confident that we can enroll members at a cost of $1 per member, which is a fraction of the value of the members to an acquirer (minimum $25 per member), thus providing a significant return on our marketing investments.
  • Execution of Technology plan : in order to build a thriving community, Shoutmouth needs to offer its visitors a “stickier” website and enhanced features. We currently maintain a vast “wish list” of features, such as members uploading and rating pictures and videos, trivia quizzes, and member-to-member messaging, that will significantly improve the site’s functionality and value proposition.
  • Staffing : In order to reach our goals, we will have to hire additional technical and operations personnel.

Financial Projections

Below is an overview of Shoutmouth’s Financial Projections for the next three years. Please see the Appendix for the full financial projections and key assumptions.

Exit Strategy / Valuation Metric

Shoutmouth’s most likely exit strategy is to be acquired by a traditional music website or property (e.g., Viacom/MTV, Ticketmaster, Rolling Stone), an entertainment/media conglomerate (e.g., Yahoo!, IAC/InterActiveCorp, NBC), or a large social networking site (e.g., News Corp/MySpace).

This strategy is supported by the significant M&A activity in the social networking market, which includes the following transactions over the past 24 months:

Regarding valuation, below are the estimated valuations of social networking companies on a per member basis upon exit:

  • Del.icio.us: $50 – $100 per member
  • MySpace: $25 per member
  • Xing (business social network): $137 per member at IPO in 10/06
  • Flickr: $56 – $130 per member
  • Grouper: $130 per member

Based on this data, not only are social networking sites a promising investment, but sites that can acquire members for less than $25 each (a conservative valuation estimate based on the figures above), should earn a solid return on investment. As discussed above, Shoutmouth’s goal is to acquire members for no more than $1 each.

In addition, per the membership projections above, Shoutmouth’s valuation at the end of 2009, at a $25 valuation per member, is expected to be $239 million. A more conservative, using a 24.4 time EBITDA multiple (the average multiple of tech M&A deals in 2006 according to The M&A Advisor), yields a $121 million valuation in 2009.

Shoutmouth’s founding team includes entrepreneurs and managers with a track record of success and a history of successfully working together.

Management Team

DL, Co-Founder and CEO

D has a history of successfully launching and growing businesses of all sizes. As president and co-founder of an entrepreneurial services firm., D has personally assisted in the launch and development of over 100 ventures.

Over the past three years, D founded and has managed The Kisco Group which includes an affiliate marketing division (2006 revenues exceeded $3 million), a search engine optimization business which includes a network of 3,000 websites (2006 revenues exceeded $500,000) and an e-commerce business (which includes TopPayingKeywords.com and ShowerHeadsEtc.com).

D earned his Bachelors degree from the University of South Carolina.

PK, Co-Founder and Vice President of Operations

For the past two years, P has managed The Kisco Group’s search engine optimization business where he hired, trained and managed nearly 100 employees and a dozen outside firms. During this time, P has honed his management skills with regards to content development, marketing and operations.

P has had a passion for music since childhood and has been a semi-professional drummer for the past 15 years.

P earned his Bachelors of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from Clemson University.

PF, Co-Founder and Vice President of Technology

For the past year, P has managed The Kisco Group’s affiliate marketing business. In addition to setting up and managing widespread marketing campaigns, P has developed sophisticated analytic techniques to precisely analyze web traffic in order to optimize profitability.

Since August 2006, P has shifted his efforts and leveraged his technology skills in developing the Shoutmouth website. P has been instrumental in selecting the Content Management Platform upon which Shoutmouth is built, and finding and managing the technology team.

P earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Swarthmore College.

AB, Marketing Manager

A’s background in music includes being a singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer. He has also worked on the marketing side of music, having marketed Veritas Records through the development and distribution of promotional materials.

A’s career also includes psychological research and administration, having served as a Research Assistant with the Interpersonal Perception And Communication Laboratory in Cambridge, MA.

A earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Ohio State University.

M, Lead Technology Developer

M is an experienced web programmer with expertise in web design, application development and database development among others.

M’s work experience includes serving as a Senior Developer at Spheres. M has also engaged in multiple, long term freelance projects including serving as a Database Developer Consultant with The Penn Group and a Web Developer Consultant with Volution Media Group and Allied Online Consulting Group.

M earned his Bachelors degree in Computer Science with a minor in Cognitive Science from Rutgers University.

Content Development Team

Shoutmouth’s writing team, managed by PK, includes the following members:

  • JS, Editorial Manager: former content manager and copywriter for Scholastic Inc. and Promotions.com.
  • TZ: former music intern (Virgin Records and WRRV) and author of the blog, The Tom Z Show .
  • ML: former assistant editor for Adventure Publishing; author of the blog Certified Gangsta ; and former editor-in-chief of Fordham University’s newspaper The Paper .
  • SB: former staff writer for Paste Magazine , The Clarion Ledger , and Nightclub and Bar Magazine among others.
  • CSJ: former editorial intern for Rolling Stone and Editorial Assistant for Psychology Today .

Outsourced Technology Team

Shoutmouth works very closely with 2skies, a technology firm based in Australia with staff in Australia and the United States. 2skies is run by JDN, one of the co-founding developers of XE, the platform upon which Shoutmouth is built.

XE is an extensible, Open Source web application framework written in PHP and licensed under the GNU General Public License. XE delivers the requisite infrastructure and tools to create custom web applications that include fully dynamic multi-platform Content Management Solutions (CMS).

VIII. Appendix: Shoutmouth Financial Projections   3-Year Income Statement

3-Year Balance Sheet

As of December 31

3-Year Cash Flow Statement

business plan work ideas

On This Page

Follow these steps to write a business plan

Why do you need a business plan, start writing your business plan, business plan templates and tools.

Vector of a single page with folded corner and a pencil. Represents preparing to write a business plan.

How to Write a Business Plan

Noah Parsons | Nov 15, 2023

Writing a business plan doesn’t have to be complicated. The more you know about what goes into your plan, the easier it will be to write.

In this step-by-step guide, you’ll learn how to write a strong business plan that’s detailed enough to impress bankers and potential investors while helping you start, run, and grow a successful business.

Follow these eleven simple steps and download one of our free business plan templates to make writing your business plan quick and easy.

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1. Start with a one-page plan

Outline all of your important business details with a simple highly focused document that's easy to complete and update.

A one-page business plan is a succinct, high-level overview of your business concept, key objectives, and strategy for success. It serves as a roadmap that outlines the essential details of your business and its operations in a clear and concise format.

Common components of writing a business plan include a problem and solution statement, an outline of your business model, target market, competitive advantage, a breakdown of your team, and a financial summary.

The one-page plan is where you will outline all of your important business details with a brief and focused document that’s incredibly easy to update and expand. Despite its brevity, a one-page business plan can be a powerful tool that provides a clear vision of what you aim to achieve and how you plan to do it. It’s not only a foundational document for your business operations, but also a persuasive tool when pitching to investors or potential partners.

You may even find that it’s all you need to run your business.

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2. Summarize with an executive summary

To make sure that people will actually read your business plan and understand your business—you'll need a brief but thorough introduction to that is both convincing and easy to digest.

The executive summary is the first, and possibly only, thing investors, employees and anyone else will read. It should provide an overview of your business operations, strategy, and goals within one or two pages. While it does come first in your plan it should be the last thing you complete—after you have written the other parts of your business plan.

Despite its brevity, you will still want to include several important pieces of information when writing your business plan executive summary . These include the unique product or service your business offers, the market it targets, and why it holds a competitive advantage. It establishes both high-level facts like the company’s vision and mission statement , as well as previewing technical details like an overview of financial projections or funding request.

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3. Describe your products and services

This is where you describe what you are selling and how it solves a problem for your target market. Any other information, like initial traction or patents, should further demonstrate how your product/service stands out.

Is there actually a need for what you plan to offer?

Whether you’re selling products, services or both, this section is where you will detail not only what you provide, but also how your offerings solve problems your customers are dealing with, the value you provide and how your solution sets you apart from competitors. It is also where you can show you have a solid grasp of logistical details like pricing and distribution.

To truly showcase the value of your products and services , you need to craft a compelling narrative around your offerings. How will your product or service transform your customer’s life or work? This narrative will draw in your audience, whether they’re potential customers or investors.

Above all, it is the area when writing your business plan to really showcase the value of your products and/or services.

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4. Conduct a market analysis

When creating a business plan, spend time researching the market you’re entering to identify emerging trends and hone in on what is attainable– your ultimate goal is to be able to define your ideal target market.

This is likely to be one of the most time-intensive steps in writing your business plan. It requires developing a comprehensive assessment of the environment you plan to operate in. Especially if you’re writing a business plan to secure a loan or investment, you will need to show that you understand the dynamics and trends in the market.

Conducting a marketing analysis involves segmenting your market based on demographic and psychographic information. These are attributes like their age, income level, interests and habits. Your target market is the specific group of people who are most likely to become your customers.

The goal of this section is for you to paint a clear picture of who your ideal customers are , determine if the market is viable for your business, and back up your claims with supporting information. If you were to present this part of your plan to an investor, they would hopefully have no questions about who your business will be serving.

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5. Conduct a competitive analysis

Everyone has competition and you should show that you understand who they are and how you compare as part of your business plan.

Part of defining your opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage may be. To do this effectively you need to get to know your competitors just as well as your target customers. Every business will have competition, if you don’t then you’re either in a very young industry or there’s a good reason no one is pursuing this specific venture.

To succeed, you want to be sure you know who your competitors are , how they operate, necessary financial benchmarks, and how you’re business will be positioned. Remember, this will likely be something you revisit and update in the future as the competitve landscape shifts and changes.

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6. Outline your marketing and sales plan

This section describes how you plan to reach and sell to your potential customers, what your pricing strategy will be, and what marketing activities you will use to make your small business successful.

The marketing and sales plan includes how you will position your product or service in the market, the marketing channels and messaging you will use, and your sales tactics. This section should give a clear picture of what your growth trajectory looks like, the milestones you intend to achieve, and how you plan to measure success.

Your marketing strategy should align strategic goals with concrete marketing activities that aim to engage your target market and persuade them to purchase your product or service.

The sales plan should clearly estimate how much you aim to sell, and provide actionable steps to achieve those goals.

Together, these specific plans paint a picture of how you will not just connect with your target audience but how you will turn them into paying customers.

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7. Describe your business operations

How will your business run day-to-day? You'll want to have all the necessary details in this section to show that you have an understanding of how you'll produce and maintain your product or service.

The operations section describes the necessary requirements for your business to run smoothly. This includes elements such as inventory, supply chains, equipment and technology, distribution, and manufacturing. In short, this section is where you talk about how your business works and what day-to-day operations look like. 

Operations do not cover your business model and organizational structure. Instead, your operations and distribution are tied strictly to execution and help further fill out how you will achieve your goals and objectives.

For businesses without a physical product, you can use this section to describe the technology you’ll leverage, what goes into your service, who you will partner with , and any other factors that keep your services running.

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8. Track milestones and metrics

While not required to complete your business plan it can be incredibly useful to map out key business milestones and the metrics you’ll be tracking along the way.

A good milestone clearly lays out the parameters of the task at hand and sets expectations for its execution. You’ll want to include a description of the task, a proposed due date, who is responsible, and eventually a budget that’s attached. You don’t need extensive project planning in this section, just key milestones that you want to hit and when you plan to hit them. 

You should also discuss key metrics, which are the numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common data points worth tracking include conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, profit, etc. 

It’s perfectly fine to start small and grow the number of metrics you are tracking. You also may find that some metrics simply aren’t relevant to your business and can narrow down what you’re tracking over time.

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9. Describe your organization and management structure

This is the part of your business plan to detail the history of your company, list out roles and specific employee qualifications, as well as logistical information.

This is a fairly short, but important, section. Investors look for great teams in addition to great ideas—and this is your chance to prove that you have both.

Include brief bios that highlight the relevant experiences of each key team member. It’s important here to make the case for why the team is the right team to turn an idea into a reality. Do they have the right industry experience and background? Have members of the team had entrepreneurial successes before?

Your company overview should also include a summary of your company’s current business structure. The most common business structures include:

  • Sole proprietor
  • Partnership

Be sure to provide a review of how the business is owned as well. Does each business partner own an equal portion of the business? How is ownership divided? Potential lenders and investors will want to know the structure of the business before they will consider a loan or investment.

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10. Make a financial plan

Creating a financial plan and budget prepares you with the necessary financial statements and forecasts to set goals and pursue business loans or investment.

Many business owners feel intimidated by the financial component of writing their business plan. But it doesn’t require a business degree or advanced math skills to create well-structured, accurate financial statements.

Creating a comprehensive financial plan starts with a sales forecast , where you estimate the sales expected over a given period. Just as important is an expense budget , where you project future costs such as personnel costs , equipment, marketing expenses, and taxes.

A strong business plan will include assumptions about the future and potential risks that could impact the financial plan . Including those will be especially important if you’re writing a business plan to pursue a loan or other investment.

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11. Add supporting information to an appendix

This is the place for additional data, charts, or other information that supports or just doesn’t fit into specific sections of your plan.

Including an appendix in your business plan can significantly enhance the credibility of your plan by showing readers that you’ve thoroughly considered the details of your business idea and are backing your ideas up with solid data.

Just remember that the information in the appendix is meant to be supplementary. Your business plan should stand on its own, even if the reader skips this section.

Even after reviewing these steps you may be wondering, “Why should I spend my time making a business plan?” Here are the top reasons why you should invest in planning:

Businesses that plan grow 30% faster.

A surprising amount of research has been done on business planning and has shown that companies that take the time to write a plan and review it regularly grow 30% faster than those businesses that don’t plan. Not only do these companies grow faster, but they perform better and are less likely to fail in the long run.

Lenders and investors need business plans

If you’re growing your business and plan on getting a business loan or raising money from investors, you’ll need a business plan. Most lenders and investors will ask for a plan , but even if they don’t want to see the actual document, they will ask you questions that only a solid business plan will be able to answer.

Business plans reduce risk

Starting and running a business is always risky. Instead of flying by the seat of your pants, you can use a plan to forecast potential cash flow issues and get ahead of any potential roadblocks so you aren’t caught off guard. A business plan will help you reduce your risk and help you navigate the future.

Business planning helps you make smart spending decisions 

Before you make a big spending decision for your business, you need to know the potential impacts on your finances. With a business plan in place, you can easily explore different scenarios and see what impacts a new hire or an expansion to a second location will have on your business.

Need more reasons for why you need a business plan? Read our full list of reasons why having a business plan is important for small businesses.

Whether you’re writing a plan to explore a new business idea, establishing steps to start a business, looking to raise money from investors, seeking a loan, or just trying to run your business better—a solid business plan will help get you there. 

Business planning is a continuous process that can help you validate your idea, set goals, manage, and successfully pitch your business. One of the most helpful things you can do to build a successful business is to jump in and start planning.

For detailed guidance on writing specific sections of your business plan, check out the links above for additional resources.

For more on business planning, including tips for writing a great plan , what options are available , and even specific industry guides —check out our full  Business Planning Guide . 

Kickstart your business plan writing with one of our free business plan templates or recommended tools.

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10 Game Changing Business Proposal Ideas from Creative Business Owners

Adam Hempenstall

  • Apr 24, 2023
  • 12 min read

business plan work ideas

  • First published on
  • Aug 7, 2017

If you’re struggling with your business proposals and are looking to better understand the whole process, this is the blog for you.

We’ve collected ten of the most creative business proposal ideas from some of the best companies around.

T hese ideas will work no matter the types of business you’re in. Use them to inspire you and improve your business proposals.

Whether you’re a small business , a new business or running a big and successful team, a little bit of inspiration could go a long way.

Let’s take a look at our favourite business proposal ideas that can help you improve your business plan.

The comparison checklist from Tony Isgrove

If there’s one industry you wouldn’t think would be at the forefront of proposal design and innovation, it’s probably the Painting and Decorating industry.

However, they understand the importance of visuals and creative expression. It’s safe to say that their business proposals are beautiful and easy to get through.

Tony Isgrove and his team came up with something absolutely genius.

As part of his business proposal idea, he includes a helpful checklist so you can easily compare his painting service to that of anyone else. This is how it looked:

Tony isgrove business proposal checklist

Nothing revolutionary you might think, but this is where he’s so clever. He’s setting the frame.

Now not only is he plugging all the things they do, accreditations they’ve won etc but even if another painter ticks every single box, he would still only be just as good as Tony’s firm.

Absolutely masterful frame control there.

When you include something like this in your business proposal, it elevates your services to a new level.

Not only are you showing your professionalism and authority amongst the competition, but also that you have a great business plan. Make your small business stand out with this genius tip.

“Let’s do this, mate” from Sampath

A simple thing with a deep psychological impact. Sampath, a growth consultant changed an otherwise normal piece of copy on the cover of his business proposal and created an awesome moment.

signup for a betterproposals trial account

On covers of documents created with Better Proposals , you can edit the copy of the button from “Read Proposal” to anything you like.

business proposal cover ideas

Usually, people just write things like “Open Proposal”, “View Quote” or “Start Reading”. A skilled content or essay writing service provider can help you to write better call-to-action lines.

Not Sampath.

He builds a fantastic relationship with his clients so this doesn’t seem weird and of course, in the wrong situation, this is terrible advice so tread with caution, but he changed his button name to “Let’s do this, mate”.

It creates a cool “Yeahhhhhhh!” moment and they are few and far between in proposals. Consider what you call the button on your proposal covers.

business proposal personalized cta ideas

We urge you to customize your proposals, from the content, down to the call to action.

Our free proposal templates are a great starting point, but you need to show your client that they’re not just a number.

Make sure to use their words when describing the problem at hand. It will show them that you listened. The focus of the proposal should be on the client.

Your business idea is only interesting to them if you show the benefits their company can expect. Whether it’s as simple as – more money or an easier way of attracting investors, or getting involved in the local market, make sure to outline it.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with your business proposal. Do a little social media stalking to find out what your potential clients love and work in into the proposal.

Testimonial on the page with the quote on it from Jigawatt

Jigowatt are a digital agency in the UK that does something that can only be described as sheer brilliance. They aren’t a cheap design agency and their pricing reflects that.

What they do to “soften the blow” to people who might be expecting a lower price is add a testimonial which conveniently touts the ROI of Jigowatt’s services.

Absolute magic. It’s so good that we have completely stolen this business proposal idea for our proposal templates. Here’s how it looks: #SorryNotSorry

testimonial above quote idea

All of our free proposal templates come with a pre-designed pricing section. That means that all you have to do is find the best way to price your services. Here’s a handy guide for that.

It’s helpful no matter the type of business you have, whether you freelance, are looking to start a business, run a small business or something else.

Personalised video introduction from Kevin at Blinkered

Kevin at Blinkered does something brilliant with his proposals. He’s a digital strategist based near Glasgow, Scotland.

He’s committed to making each of his proposals as personal as he can so he records a personalised introduction video for each and every client and embeds the video on the executive summary page of his proposal.

Not only does this scream “I want the job” but it shows how ‘on the ball’ he is when it comes to winning new business. I wish more people adopted this approach.

What’s even better is he doesn’t use an iPhone in selfie mode. That wouldn’t be his style.

He gets his entire professional camera gear out in a mini-studio he’s created for himself and shoots it like a high-budget movie. This is all about using your strengths to your advantage.

He has awesome camera gear, and video editing tools, speaks amazingly well and has a studio.  He is as professional as he can be and that makes the entire business proposal document elevated, which is why this is such a good idea.

business plan work ideas

Personalising the cover from Tim

Tim Coe is a marketer and brand strategist from Lymington in Hampshire.

He’s the author of the book ‘Your Utterly Seductive Proposal’ and has been featured on Grant Cardone’s TV show, has done business with a who’s who of business people in the UK and has spoken at every conference worth speaking at.

He takes personalising each proposal seriously but does it in his own way. He personalises each cover depending on the client and project. I love this.

Think about it. It’s the first thing they see so making an amazing first impression is really important. He uses unsplash.com and finds an appropriate picture then uses that as the background cover.

An excellent touch and one you should employ.

It makes his business proposal engaging from the very start. The more you customize your proposals, the better the outcome will be.

tim coe personlised business proposal cover idea

Case study idea with a story from templates

Sometimes we get so boxed into pre-existing ideas we forget to step outside the box.

I was on a flight to Barcelona recently to watch the football game and the amazing 6-1 win over PSG, and on the flight, I wrote a new business proposal template .

Only, I was on the plane, and I had no internet so I wrote the content in Pages on my Mac which took me out of “ business proposal writing ” mode and more into a natural flow.

When it came to writing the case study part I for some reason wrote it as if it was a personal introduction.

This is a popular marketing strategy , since providing clients with examples showcases that you’re the right person for the job.

It was a little story of a guy called Jamie, and Jamie oddly enough had the same goals as the imaginary prospect and it only made sense we’d share this story seeing as we helped Jamie achieve all his goals.

meet Jamie

Why is this effective? It’s different, it’s reading a success story without your “bullshit filter” on so it actually goes in your brain. Give this a try.

Remember, the trick is to make it super personal and creative. That’s the only way to create a successful case study.

Big coloured block exclaiming the goal of the project

We launched feature blocks in January 2017 and they’ve been used in almost every business template and business proposal that’s been sent since. An absolutely massive hit.

Proposal templates

What they’ve been used for most commonly is making a big point of the opening statement on the Introduction page. The trick with this is less in the design and more in the copy.

If someone wants to double their revenue in the next 12 months and that is of paramount importance then something like this will give an epic first impression.

business proposal intro benefits

It grabs attention, forces them to take that piece of information in and sets the tone for the rest of the proposal.

When writing your business proposal, make sure to outline the benefits your clients can expect. It makes it more engaging for them.

Letting your client upsell themselves with the optional items in your business proposal ideas

Troy Dean from WP Elevation – they’re one of our Premium Partners, suggests in his WP Elevation Blueprint Course that you should always allow your client to upsell themselves with a few extra add-ons.

It could be a monthly report, extra support, VIP treatment or any number of things but allowing them the chance to increase the deal size by clicking one button is a brilliant touch.

Sometimes, we run into brilliant business proposal ideas and we build them into our templates.

You can see this example in our pricing tables. Here’s how it looks.

optional products

If you want to impress your clients with technological brilliance as well as increase the revenue you bring in from each client, look no further than this little beauty.

The fact that it’s web-based , to begin with.

How many times have you asked for a quote or a business proposal and received a tacky, badly designed PDF document with a brief description of the service and a price? Too often?

Sending a web-based business proposal that arrives with a beautiful full-screen cover, well-formatted text and is engaging to browse is far more interesting.

mobile view ms word vs better proposals

Our unofficial tagline here at Better Proposals is “Death of the PDF”. It’ll never die but we can try and make it obsolete with these amazing proposal ideas.

proposal university design cta

Benefits of web-based proposals

If you’re wondering about the benefits of web-based proposals, here are just the most popular ones:

Proposal templates

Digital signatures, payment integrations, proposal analytics, a simplified follow-up process.

  • Integrations

Writing a business proposal from scratch is harrowing work. Luckily, if you’re using Better Proposals, you can rely on our prewritten templates.

They are free for all of our users and help you speed up the proposal-creating process since you don’t have to worry about the proposal structure.

We offer a wide variety of proposal templates. You can easily find the right one for you, whether you’re a:

  • small business
  • software company
  • digital marketing company
  • sales team etc.

All of our business proposals are web-based, meaning your clients can easily agree to your terms by typing in their names.

esignature block

The typed-in name will get turned into a legally binding digital signature.

Furthermore, your clients can pay using your business proposal payment gateways. You can choose between PayPal, Stripe or GoCardless.

payment integrations

The proposal analytics will show you the progress of your business proposal. You will be notified every time they are opened, forwarded, signed and paid.

business proposal analytics

Moreover, once your business proposal is opened, we’ll notify you how much time the client spent on each of the sections, making your follow-up process easy.

proposal section time spent

However, if the spent time on your timescales and executive summary, you know how to structure your follow-up email.

When you have an online proposal tool, you can integrate all the other sales and marketing tools like CRMs and more.

better proposals integrations

It will help you speed up the whole sales process and create proposals that utilize all customer data you’ve collected so far.

When you’re running a small business, every proposal counts.

You can’t afford to lose any potential clients by sending bad proposals. You have to get creative and spend some time on the writing process.

Projections from Tim’s proposal “picture the dream”

Here’s another brilliant business proposal idea from Tim Coe.

If you’re creating a business proposal which contains future projections for your client then consider setting the stage nice and early with those projections.

I’m not suggesting replacing the introduction. You should always have that opening summary, but this could immediately follow.

When utilizing this business idea, you’re hitting them with the main benefit nice and early, and then painting this amazing picture for them sets the frame up perfectly.

Now, everything they read in the rest of the business proposal is understood through the lens of knowing what years 2 and 3 could look like.

A subtle tip here, getting people to “think big” before hitting them with the price is a great way of lowering the impact your price would have.

telling the story

We’ve collected ten amazing business proposal ideas for you to jazz up your proposals, and make them more engaging and fun to read.

business proposal templates

The process of sending your business proposal is of course about doing a good job for the agreed budget, but it’s also about making them feel like you’re the right company for the job.

A great way to do that is to give them an organised, well-formatted document summing everything up. If that is a complete mess, what does it say about your service?

Conversely, what does it say if it blows them away?

I’ll leave you to work out which one you want to be.

The only thing that’s left to do is to sign up for a free trial and fall in love with Better Proposals.

Start sending Better Proposals today

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Creative Small Business Ideas

Explore our curated list of creative small business ideas  for 2023. Discover the perfect niche that aligns with your interests and embark on a rewarding journey of self-employment. Whether you seek job satisfaction, higher income potential, or freedom, starting your own business can be a fulfilling endeavor. Take the first step towards success by finding the right business idea and learn the essential steps to get started.

1. Online tutoring

2. print on demand, 3. publishing e-books, 4. tax preparation, 5. dry cleaners, 6. self-storage business, 7. social media management manager, 8. commercial shelving, 9. web design, 10. influence marketing, 11. portable charging devices, 12 startup incubator, 13. atm business, 14. solar panel business, 15. battery recycling, 16. fantasy sports services, 17. 3d printing services, 18. it security consulting, 19. online recruitment sites, 20. tire recycling business, 21. interior design consultant, 22. online dating consultant, 23. carpet cleaning, 24. food truck business, 25. personal training, 26. catering business, 27. home care service, 28. transcription service, 29. app development, 30. medical courier service, 31. start a blog, 32. teaching online courses, 33. online bookkeeping, 34. t-shirt printing, 35. pet care services, how to choose a business idea, 35 creative small business ideas.

Consider any of these business areas if you are ready to run your own company.

Online tutoring allows students to receive one-to-one assistance and support from a tutor.

Tutors can specialize in a particular subject or grade level, and can work with students individually or in groups.

Always teach subjects that directly relate to your expertise, so you can share your skills and constructive knowledge with your students.

Zoom makes it easy to deliver lectures and interact with students, making online tutoring one of the easiest online businesses. 

The business can be run from home with a flexible schedule. You will need a computer, internet access, and a tutoring or teaching certification to start an online tutoring business.

To get clients, you’ll need to market and advertise your services online, through social media, and through word of mouth. This business can generate revenue through hourly or package tutoring sessions and can be scaled up by hiring more tutors.

8 Best Platforms for Online Tutoring

The Print-on-Demand business model involves printing and shipping products only after customers order them.

It allows businesses to avoid holding large inventories of products, as well as offer a wide variety of designs and products without committing to bulk production.

POD businesses typically use third-party printers or fulfillment companies to produce and ship their products. If you’re not a designer, you can hire one from Fiverr, Upwork, Dribbble, or 99Designs.

The POD system is popular for clothing, accessories, home decor, and specialty products due to its flexibility and customization.

Starting a POD business requires no large upfront inventory investment, making it a relatively low-cost model. It allows entrepreneurs to test different products without incurring high costs.

An ebook business involves creating, publishing and selling digital books, also known as ebooks.

Online ebook businesses include formats such as PDF, ePub, and Kindle. It’s a low-cost business that generates revenue through ebook sales.

There are many ways to sell ebooks online, including Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, iBooks, and others.

If you have the knowledge or creativity, you can produce original books like cookbooks, picture books, comic books, poetry books, photo books, coffee table books, and novels. Having endless options makes it a great small business idea.

E-books have made significant progress in recent years, and the industry is expected to grow even more by 2024. According to Statista , revenue from e-books reached $1.3 billion in 2019 alone, with that number projected to reach $1.6 billion by 2024.

Tax preparation businesses help individuals and businesses prepare and file their taxes. It can be started with minimal costs and can be run from home or a physical office.

You will need knowledge of tax laws, regulations, and software to start this business. Making sure you know the tax laws and regulations will help you file your taxes correctly.

You can generate revenue through hourly or package-based services and scale up your business by hiring additional tax preparers.

Over the next five years, Tax Preparation Services has grown an average of 3.9% per year. Tax Preparation Services is expected to generate $14.4bn in revenue in 2023.

Dry cleaning involves cleaning clothes and fabrics with chemicals instead of water. A dry cleaning business typically provides services such as laundry, pressing, and stain removal for clothing, linens, and draperies. It’s possible to start a dry cleaning company that offers eco-friendly cleaning solutions or home/office delivery services.

You can also attract potential customers by creating a strong online presence through your website, social media, and online directories.

Due to its steady demand and low overhead costs, dry cleaning is a profitable business.

The self-storage business model involves renting storage units for a short or long period of time. Self-storage startups can focus on offering climate-controlled units, 24/7 access, and enhanced security. Protect your customers’ belongings with CCTV cameras, alarms, and key-code access systems.

Self-storage is a profitable business that addresses the growing need for more space for both personal and commercial purposes. Starting a business like this requires a small investment and can be run with low overhead costs.

Around 8 billion people inhabit the planet, and as of 2023, 4.9 billion use social media. Brands need help managing their social media accounts across YouTube, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, TikTok, and all other social networks available. 

The social media manager is responsible for creating and analyzing content for a brand’s social media accounts. You will be paid to write engaging content, respond to comments, run ads, and more. It is possible to charge by the hour or by the project.

Commercial shelving refers to manufacturing, supplying, and installing shelving and storage systems for commercial and industrial use.

Commercial Shelving businesses are a great way to get started in the retail world. Commercial Shelving businesses can be started with a relatively small investment, and they offer a wide range of potential profits.

Small businesses in this field can focus on providing customized shelving solutions for retail stores, warehouses, and other businesses. To succeed in this business, you need to provide high-quality products at competitive prices and provide excellent customer service.

Need Business Plan Writing Services

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Having an online presence is becoming increasingly important, making web design a profitable business.

Web design is like creating a digital canvas where your clients’ ideas can be brought to life. Starting a web design business could be a great idea if you’re a creative person with a knack for design and technology.

It is crucial to stay on top of the latest web design software, technologies, and trends. Having an understanding of web development and SEO will help you create websites that are user-friendly, responsive, and search-engine-optimized for your clients.

Furthermore, you can increase revenue by providing additional services such as website maintenance, hosting, and e-commerce.

Influencer marketing involves partnering with individuals who have an expansive social media following to promote products or services.

You must identify potential influencers in your niche, build relationships with them, and connect them to brands looking to promote their products. Also, you’ll need to understand the latest trends and best practices in influencer marketing.

Also, you will need to know how to use the different social media platforms for influencer marketing. Matching influencers with brands and managing campaigns effectively will require strong communication and negotiation skills.

Although smartphones have revolutionized our lives, having your phone battery die while out is still a highly prevalent problem. This is what fuels the growth of the portable phone charging business.

The market for portable charging devices is anticipated to expand at a rate of 6.6% each year through 2022, according on data released by BCC Research. The popularity of cell phones with smaller battery capacities is contributing to the growth.

Another alternative for people without a lot of technical expertise to get involved in the industry is to start their own startup incubator. The role of an incubator is to assist businesses in developing and launching successfully. Management training, office space, and mentorship possibilities are all available.

To be sure, you’ll need some experience in business to set up an incubator. The expense of establishing your own incubator and attracting founders may be prohibitive. Many incubators begin modestly and develop over time as they assist numerous start-ups enter the market.

Have you ever considered starting your own ATM business? It’s a great way to earn extra income, and it doesn’t require a lot of start-up capital. Plus, there’s a growing demand for ATMs, as more and more people are using cashless payments. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

First, you’ll need to find a good location for your ATM. It should be in a high-traffic area, such as a busy street corner or a shopping mall. You’ll also need to make sure that there’s power and Internet access nearby. Once you’ve found the perfect spot, you can apply for an ATM license from your local government.

Have you ever thought about starting your own solar panel business? It’s a great way to be your own boss and make a difference in the fight against climate change. Solar panel installation is a rapidly growing industry, and there are plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs who are willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

The first step is to develop a solar panel business idea. What will your business offer that others don’t? How will you stand out in the crowded solar market? Once you have a clear vision for your business, you can start working on the practicalities, such as registering your business, finding suppliers, and marketing your services. With hard work and dedication, you can turn your solar panel business idea into a reality.

Are you looking for a unique business idea? If so, starting a battery recycling business could be the perfect opportunity for you. The demand for recycled batteries is high, and there are a number of ways to collect and process them. However, starting a battery recycling business is not without its challenges.

You will need to obtain the proper permits and licenses, and you will need to have a secure location to store the batteries. In addition, you will need to have a reliable transportation system in place to pick up the batteries from collection sites and deliver them to your facility.

But if you are willing to put in the work, starting a battery recycling business can be a rewarding experience. With careful planning and execution, you can turn your recycling business into a success

Fantasy sports businesses are becoming increasingly popular. If you have a love for sports and are looking for a new business venture, starting a fantasy sports business may be the perfect option for you. There are a few things to keep in mind when starting a fantasy sports business.

First, you will need to choose a niche. Whether you want to focus on football, baseball, basketball, or another sport, it is important to decide which sport you will be base your business around. Once you have chosen your sport, you will need to research the best way to start and grow your business.

If you’re looking for a new business venture, 3d printing could be the perfect option. With the help of a 3d printer, you can create customized products and parts, making it a great way to stand out from the competition. And best of all, starting a 3d printing business is relatively easy and doesn’t require a large investment.

what’s more, the market for 3d printed products is only growing. As consumers become more aware of the technology and its capabilities, they are increasingly seeking out unique and one-of-a-kind items. This presents a great opportunity for entrepreneurs who are looking to start their own 3d printing business.

Nowadays, cyber security is one of the hottest business ideas. And it’s no wonder why: cybercrime is on the rise, and businesses of all sizes are struggling to keep their data and systems safe. If you’re considering starting a cybersecurity business, there are a few things you need to know.

First, cyber security is a complex and ever-changing field, so you’ll need to be constantly learning and keeping up with the latest threats.

Second, you’ll need to have a strong understanding of technology, since that’s what you’ll be protecting businesses from. Finally, cybersecurity is a highly competitive field, so you’ll need to be able to stand out from the crowd.

job portals are websites that provide a centralised location for employers to advertise job vacancies and for jobseekers to search for available roles.

A job portal can be a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes, as it provides a cost-effective way to reach a large audience of potential candidates. For jobseekers, a job portal can be a convenient way to search for job openings in one place.

There are many factors to consider before starting a job portal website. Firstly, you will need to decide what kind of jobs your website will cater to.

This will determine the target audience for your website. You will also need to consider how you will generate revenue from your website. Job portals typically generate revenue through advertising and/or charged listings.

Turning used tires into a sustainable business opportunity is a smart way to be eco-friendly and make some extra money. Tire recycling businesses can be incredibly profitable, as there is a growing demand for recycled rubber products.

The first step in starting a tire recycling business is to gather used tires from cars, trucks, bicycles, and other vehicles. Once you have a stockpile of tires, you can then begin the process of breaking them down into their component parts.

The rubber can be used to create a variety of products, such as flooring, mats, and even jewelry. With some creativity and hard work, starting a tire recycling business can be a rewarding endeavor.

An Interior Design Consultant provides professional design services to clients looking to revamp their homes or commercial spaces. They help clients choose colors, materials, furniture, and accessories to create a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing design.

The interior design consultant can work as a freelancer, start their own business, or work for a design firm. They can charge clients an hourly rate, a flat fee, or a percentage of the total project cost.

The total revenue generated in a year by an interior design consultant can vary widely based on the number of clients, the size of projects, and the rate charged. On average, an interior designer can earn anywhere from $50k to $100k per year.

An Online Dating Consultant is a business that provides personalized advice and guidance to individuals looking to navigate the world of online dating. The consultant helps clients create attractive profiles, choose the right dating platforms, and craft compelling messages to increase their chances of finding a compatible match. The consultant can also provide coaching on communication and relationship building skills to help clients navigate the dating process with confidence.

Estimated Annual Revenue: $40k – $100k  depending on the number of clients, hourly rates, and services offered.

Carpet Cleaning is a service-based business that specializes in removing dirt, stains, and allergens from carpets and rugs in residential and commercial settings. The business uses professional-grade equipment and cleaning solutions to deep clean carpets, leaving them looking and smelling fresh. Carpet Cleaning can also offer additional services such as spot removal, pet odor treatment, and stain protection.

Carpet cleaning businesses can operate as a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation. They can offer services to residential and commercial customers, either as a one-time service or as a recurring service. They can charge customers by the room, by the square foot, or by the hour.

Estimated Annual Revenue: $100k – $300k  depending on the number of clients, hourly rates, and services offered.

A food truck business involves running a mobile kitchen that serves food and drinks at various locations, including festivals, street corners, and events. It offers customers a unique and convenient dining experience.

You can start a food truck business by obtaining a food service license, purchasing or leasing a food truck, and developing a menu of food and drinks. Make use of social media, local events, and word-of-mouth marketing to promote your business as well as determine the best locations to serve food.

The IBIS World report estimates that 36,324 food trucks will be operating in the US in 2023.

Personal training involves providing one-on-one exercise and fitness instruction to individuals. This service helps clients achieve their fitness goals and improve their overall health and wellness.

Personal training can be offered at gyms, fitness studios, or as a freelance service

You may be interested in offering your services to large fitness organizations or you may be interested in working as a freelance trainer in the fitness industry.

  • Freelance personal Trainer Upwork  
  • Ace Fitness

Catering businesses specialize in providing food and beverages for weddings, corporate events, and parties. This includes planning the menu, preparing and serving the food, and cleaning up afterwards.

You will need a food service license, a commercial kitchen, and a menu of food and drinks to start a catering business. Conduct market research to determine whether catering services are in demand in your area. Reach potential customers with social media, local events, and word of mouth.

Home care service provides in-home support and assistance to individuals who are elderly, disabled, or recovering from an illness or injury. Services may include companionship, personal care, meal preparation, transportation, and light housekeeping.

You can start your own home care business, or work as part of a larger healthcare organization.

For those who wish to work in a larger healthcare organization. Start earning today by clicking on some of the organizations below.

  • Reunion Rehabilitation
  • Health Careers 

According to talent there is an average wage of $33,161 per year for home health aides in the USA, or $15.94 per hour for caregivers. Most experienced workers earn up to $79,768 per year, while entry level positions start at $28,275 per year.

Transcription service involves converting audio or video recordings into written text. It is used in various industries such as legal, medical, media, and research for documentation and archiving purposes.

Transcription services can operate as a standalone business, work as a freelancer, or offer transcription services as part of a larger company. They can charge clients an hourly rate, a flat fee, or per audio minute.

If you plan to start a transcription business, you should get training in transcription, invest in a computer and transcription software, and build a client base. Make use of freelance websites, local newspapers, and social media to reach potential clients.

App development involves designing, building, and maintaining software applications for mobile devices, desktop computers, and the web. It includes creating user interfaces, writing code, testing, and launching the app in app stores.

App development businesses can operate as a software development company, work as a freelancer, or offer app development services as part of a larger technology company.

Simply click on the below links if you are interested in working as a freelancer.

A Medical Courier Service provides transportation for medical specimens, supplies, and equipment between healthcare facilities, laboratories, and patients. The service may include the use of specially equipped vehicles, temperature-controlled containers, and GPS tracking to ensure secure and timely delivery. Medical courier services may also offer additional services such as pick-up and delivery of medical records and supplies, and waste disposal.

The total revenue per year will depend on the number of deliveries made, the fees charged, and the scale of the business. It can range from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars, depending on the size of the market served and the level of demand for the services offered.

You can start a blog that covers a specific niche or topic and provides valuable information, insights, and entertainment to its readers. To monetize a blog, one can use advertising networks, sell products or services, or offer premium content to subscribers. The blog can be run by an individual or a team and can cover a wide range of subjects, including lifestyle, technology, travel, food, and more.

The blog can generate revenue through advertising, sponsored content, affiliate marketing, and the sale of digital products such as e-books, courses, and webinars.

According to RYROB a new blogger can  $30k – $50k in the first year of blogging.

An online platform such as skillshare , freelancer , upwork etc that offers a variety of courses taught by experienced instructors, covering a wide range of subjects.This can include live virtual classes, pre-recorded videos, and interactive materials. Online courses can cover a wide range of subjects and skill levels, from basic skills training to advanced professional development The courses can be taken by students from anywhere in the world, at their own pace, and on their own schedule.

The business can generate revenue through course fees, advertising, and partnerships with educational institutions. The platform can also offer premium features such as personalized support and certification for a fee.

The total revenue per year will depend on the number of courses offered, the number of students enrolled, and the fees charged. It can range from a few thousand dollars to millions, depending on the scale of the business.

Online Bookkeeping is a service that provides small businesses and individuals with virtual bookkeeping and accounting support. The service includes tracking financial transactions, reconciling bank and credit card statements, preparing financial statements, and providing ongoing financial analysis and reporting. The use of cloud-based software and virtual communication tools allows the bookkeeping to be done remotely, making it convenient and accessible for clients.

Estimated Annual Revenue: $50k – $150k  depending on the number of clients, hourly rates, and services offered.

This business specializes in customizing t-shirts with designs, logos, and images for individuals and organizations. High-quality printing techniques, such as screen printing, heat transfer, or digital printing, are used to produce durable and long-lasting designs. A range of t-shirt styles, colors, and sizes are available to accommodate different tastes and needs.

Estimated Annual Revenue: $50k – $200k  depending on the number of clients, printing costs, and services offered.

Pet Care Services is a business that provides professional care and attention to pets when their owners are unavailable. The services offered may include dog walking, pet sitting, feeding, and providing companionship. The business may also offer overnight stays, training, and grooming services. Pet Care Services can provide peace of mind to pet owners who are away from home, knowing that their pets are being well-cared for.

According to Common thread there is a growing market for pet care at the global level, rising from $245 billion in 2021 to $261 billion by 2022.

First, make sure there’s a real need for the business or idea you want to start.

Approximately 40% of small businesses fail because there is no market need for their product or service, so don’t become one of those businesses.

Make sure there is a need for the business you wish to start.

The other task you should keep in mind during the early stages of your startup is the writing of a business plan . You’ll need a business plan to get funding and stay on track, so the earlier you write it, the better.

Related article: How to come up with a Great Business Idea 

Bottom Line

The opportunities for business owners continue to grow in all sectors of the economy. Wise Business Plans remains committed to servicing the professionals that author these ventures, developing winning business plans that aid them in the achievement of their long-term business goals.

When the time comes to realize success in any sector or industry, turn to the professionals at Wise Business Plans for all of your strategy development needs.

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Discover a wide range of creative small business ideas such as handmade crafts, personalized gifts, event planning, graphic design, content creation, and more. Let your imagination soar!

Start by considering your passions, skills, and expertise. Look for opportunities that align with your interests and have a market demand. Research trends, conduct market analysis, and evaluate the feasibility of each idea before making a decision.

Absolutely! Many creative small businesses can be started with minimal investment. Explore low-cost options like starting an online store, utilizing social media platforms for marketing, and leveraging your existing skills and resources to keep costs down.

Absolutely! Many successful entrepreneurs started with small creative businesses that eventually grew into full-time ventures. With dedication, strategic planning, and a strong work ethic, you can scale your creative business and turn it into a sustainable source of income.

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  • The Basics of Writing a Business Plan
  • The Benefits and Risks of Writing a Business Plan
  • The Main Objectives of a Business Plan
  • What to Include and Not Include in a Successful Business Plan
  • The Top 4 Types of Business Plans
  • A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Your Business Plan Deck
  • 6 Tips for Making a Winning Business Presentation
  • 12 Ways to Set Your Business Goals and Objectives
  • 3 Key Things You Need to Know About Financing Your Business
  • How to Use Your Business Plan Most Effectively
  • How to Pitch Your Business Plan in 6 Minutes
  • How to Use Your Business Plan to Track Performance
  • How to Make Your Business Plan Attractive to Prospective Partners
  • When to Update Your Business Plan
  • How to Assess the Potential of Your Business Idea
  • How to Fund Your Business Through Friends and Family Loans and Crowdsourcing
  • How to Fund Your Business Using Banks and Credit Unions
  • How to Fund Your Business With an SBA Loan
  • How to Fund Your Business With Angel Investors
  • How to Fund Your Business With Bonds and Indirect Funding Sources
  • How to Fund Your Business With Venture Capital
  • How to Raise Money With Your Business Plan's Executive Summary
  • What Is Your Unique Selling Proposition? Use This Worksheet to Find Your Greatest Strength.
  • How to Write the Management Team Section to Your Business Plan
  • How to Create a Strategic Hiring Plan
  • How to Write a Business Plan Executive Summary That Sells Your Idea
  • How To Build a Team of Outside Experts for Your Business
  • Use This Worksheet to Write a Product Description That Sells
  • Customers and Investors Don't Want Products. They Want Solutions.
  • Who Is Your Customer? 4 Questions to Ask.
  • How to Determine the Barriers to Entry for Your Business
  • How to Define Your Product and Set Your Prices
  • How to Identify and Research Your Competition
  • 5 Essential Elements of Your Industry Trends Plan
  • How to Identify Market Trends in Your Business Plan
  • How to Get Customers in Your Store and Drive Traffic to Your Website
  • How to Effectively Promote Your Business to Customers and Investors
  • What Equipment and Facilities to Include in Your Business Plan
  • How to Write an Income Statement for Your Business Plan
  • How to Make a Balance Sheet
  • How to Make a Cash Flow Statement
  • How to Use Financial Ratios to Understand the Health of Your Business
  • How to Write an Operations Plan for Retail and Sales Businesses
  • How to Make Realistic Financial Forecasts
  • How to Write an Operations Plan for Manufacturers
  • How to List Personel and Materials in Your Business Plan
  • What Technology to Include In Your Business Plan
  • 6 Steps to Getting Your Business Plan Seen
  • The Best Ways to Follow Up on a Buisiness Plan
  • The Best Books, Sites, Trade Associations and Resources to Get Your Business Funded and Running
  • How to Hire the Right Business Plan Consultant
  • Business Plan Lingo and Resources All Entrepreneurs Should Know
  • How to Write a Letter of Introduction
  • What To Put on the Cover Page of a Business Plan
  • How to Format Your Business Plan

The Main Objectives of a Business Plan Here's what a business plan will reveal and how it can save you time and resources.

By Entrepreneur Staff • Oct 27, 2023

This is part 2 / 11 of Write Your Business Plan: Section 1: The Foundation of a Business Plan series.

You need to think of what you want and whether your plan's findings suggest you'll get it. For instance, is your objective to gain freedom from control by other people? If your plan shows that you'll have to take on several equity partners, each of whom will desire a chunk of ownership, you may need to come up with a business that does not require capital needs that are very intensive.

Perhaps you want a company that will let you do your work and get home at a reasonable hour, even a business you can start from home. There are so many options when it comes to starting a business, including the size, location, and, of course, the reason for existence. You will be able to determine all of these and so many more aspects of business with the help of your business plan. It forces you to think through all of the areas that form the main concept to the smallest details. This way you don't find yourself remembering at the last minute that your website is still not developed or that you still have most of your inventory in a warehouse and no way to ship it.

Related: How To Access The Potential Of Your Business Idea

Clarify Your Future Outlook

It may seem odd to say that a business plan can't predict the future. What are all those projections and forecasts for if they are not attempts to predict the future? The fact is, no projection or forecast is really a hard-and-fast prediction of the future. Not even the French seer Nostradamus could tell you for sure how your business will be doing in five years. The best you can do is have a plan in which you logically and systematically attempt to show what will happen if a particular scenario occurs. That scenario has been determined by your research and analysis to be the most likely one of the many that may occur. But it's still just a probability, not a guarantee.

You can, however, use your research, sales forecasts, market trends, and competitive analysis to make well-thought-out predictions of how you see your business developing if you are able to follow a specified course. To some extent, you can create your future rather than simply trying to predict it by the decisions you make. For example, you may not have a multimillion-dollar business in ten years if you are trying to start and run a small family business. Your decision on growth would therefore factor into your predictions and the outcome.

Related: Create A Business Plan Investors Will Love

Find Funding

There are all kinds of reasons why a venture capitalist, banker, or other investor may refuse to fund your company. It may be that there's no money to give out at the moment. It may be that the investor just backed a company very similar to your own and now wants something different. Perhaps the investor has just promised to back her brother-in-law's firm or is merely having a bad day and saying no to everything that crosses her desk. The point is that the quality of your plan may have little or nothing to do with your prospects of getting funded by a particular investor.

But what about the investment community as a whole? Surely if you show a well-prepared plan to a lot of people, someone will be willing to back you, right? Again, not necessarily. Communities, as well as people, are subject to fads, and your idea may be yesterday's fad. Conversely, it may be too far ahead of its time. It also may be an idea that comes about in a shaky economy or a saturated market. Timing is sometimes a factor that is out of your control.

Related: How To Use Your Business Plan

The same is true of the availability of funds. At times, banks everywhere seem to clamp down on lending, refusing to back even clearly superior borrowers. In many countries, there is no network of venture capitalists to back fledgling companies.

Open Negotiations

A business plan cannot guarantee that you will raise all the money you need at any given time, especially during the startup phase. Even if you are successful in finding an investor, the odds are good that you won't get quite what you asked for. There may be a big difference in what you have to give up, such as majority ownership or control, to get the funds. Or you may be able to make minor adjustments if you cannot snare as large a chunk of cash as you want.

Related: What To Include And Not To Include In A Business Plan

In a sense, a business plan used for seeking funding is part of a negotiation taking place between you and your prospective financial backers. The part of the plan where you describe your financial needs can be considered your opening bid in this negotiation. The other information it contains, from market research to management bios, can be considered supporting arguments. If you look at it that way, a business plan is an excellent opening bid. It's definite, comprehensive, and clear.

But it's still just a bid, and you know what happens to bids in negotiations. They get whittled away, the terms get changed, and, sometimes, the whole negotiation breaks down under the force of an ultimatum from one of the parties involved. Does this mean you should ask for a good deal more money than you actually need in your plan? Actually, that may not be the best strategy either. Investors who see a lot of plans are going to notice if you're asking for way too much money. Such a move stands a good chance of alienating those who might otherwise be enthusiastic backers of your plan. It's probably a better idea to ask for a little more than you think you can live with, plus slightly better terms than you really expect.

Related: How To Craft A Business Plan to Turn Investor's Heads

Identify Strengths and Weaknesses

A professional financier such as a bank loan officer or a venture capitalist will see literally hundreds of business plans in the course of a year. After this has gone on for several years, and the financier has backed some percentage of those plans and seen how events have turned out, he or she becomes very good at weeding out plans with inconsistencies or overblown projections and zeroing in on weaknesses, including some you'd probably rather not see highlighted.

If you've seen the television show Shark Tank , you'll understand how shrewd those individuals with the dollars can be. In short, most financiers are expert plan analyzers. You have little chance of fooling one of them with an overly optimistic or even downright dishonest plan. That doesn't mean you shouldn't make the best case you honestly can for your business. But the key word is "honestly."

Related: Finding Funding - Part 1

You certainly shouldn't play down your strengths in a plan, but don't try to hide your weaknesses either. Intelligent, experienced financiers will see them anyway. Let's say you propose to open a small health food store at an address a block away from a Whole Foods. An investor who knows this fact but doesn't see any mention of it in your plan may suspect you've lost your senses—and who could blame her?

Now think about the effect if your plan notes the existence of that big grocery store. That gives you a chance to differentiate yourself explicitly, pointing out that you'll be dealing only in locally produced foods—which the superstore doesn't carry but many of its customers may want. Suddenly that high-volume operator becomes a helpful traffic builder, not a dangerous competitor.

Related: Business Plan Book

So, recognize and deal appropriately with the weaknesses in your plan rather than sweeping them under the rug. If you do it right, this troubleshooting can become one of the strongest parts of the whole plan.

More in Write Your Business Plan

Section 1: the foundation of a business plan, section 2: putting your business plan to work, section 3: selling your product and team, section 4: marketing your business plan, section 5: organizing operations and finances, section 6: getting your business plan to investors.

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Drugstore as a franchise - is it a business idea?


Current as of: 03.02.2023

Whether you are just thinking about your own business or have already managed to develop a specific business model, any further ideas in this area are worth reviewing systematically. Dynamically changing market trends sometimes force entrepreneurs to completely change their approach to business. What should you keep in mind if you plan to start your own business in 2022? Which business ideas are likely to prove particularly profitable?

Business idea 2023 - what business is worth looking into?

The pandemic is still ongoing and, as a result, online business is growing worldwide. We continue to reduce leaving home and focus on those services and methods of obtaining goods that do not require this. Online shop sales are therefore constantly increasing, with newer and newer players entering the e-commerce market. All or part of their services are already moving en masse to the web, even companies that were operating fully stationary before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. So budding entrepreneurs should not be surprised that many market forecasts seem to suggest that it will be a good idea to focus on growing your own online business.

However, this does not mean that the offline business is no longer viable. High-quality goods and professional services are valued irrespective of current fashions, so specialising in a commercially valued field is a great idea for running your own business. What can you make money from? There is a growing demand in the market for healthy food delivered to the customer's doorstep, for example, so if you are looking for a ready-made idea, diet catering could be it. Do you have experience and expertise in an area? You can successfully create courses, tutorials and online training - the convenience of remote learning has led many consumers to appreciate this way of acquiring information and skills. If you have a rich imagination and your manual skills cannot be denied, you can try your hand at creating handmade items - handmade jewellery, toys, clothes or furniture is a great idea to monetise your passions.

How do you turn your plans into a profitable business?

Once you have managed to find your business idea, you can get on with making it a reality. Carefully analyse the market in which you intend to do business. Develop a model for the delivery of goods or services to the customer. Not sure which one to choose? The company responsible for the popular e-commerce platform, Shopify, has produced a report on a survey of its customers. The results showed that the highest satisfaction with sales performance is achieved by service providers in the subscription model (as many as 63% of such companies).

Whether you use tried and tested business ideas or experiment with your own concepts, you need to remember that your customer care will largely determine the reputation of your brand. So try to provide consumers with the highest standard of service and the ability to conveniently contact you or use the services of the business. If you are running a website business and have a larger budget, for example, you could design a mobile app that allows the customer to access the most important functions exclusively from their smartphone. If you are running a mail order business, be sure to implement the most popular payment options and ensure that buyers have access to fast and cheap courier services. With DHL eCommerce, not only can you offer customers attractive shipping prices, but you can also provide them with efficient door delivery or one of 15,000 BOX POP Points.

Make your own business recognisable - how can you start attracting potential customers?

When pursuing your own business idea in 2023, you must not forget about effective online advertising. Depending on how much budget you have at your disposal, you can bet on a large-scale marketing strategy or focused promotional campaigns in specific channels that will allow customers to see your services. If you want Google's search engine to display your business website at the top of the results lists, make sure you have the right SEO practices in place. Don't forget how important social media is for today's consumers. So include them among your promotional and sales channels and ensure the presence of engaging content on your company profiles.

E-business - what is it and how to create it?

DHL eCommerce - for business

E-business - what is it and how to create it?

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  • Main content

3 ways small-business owners can use ChatGPT to brainstorm ideas, plan campaigns, and create a cheap marketing strategy

  • AI tools can help with everyday marketing tasks like brainstorming and copywriting.
  • ChatGPT isn't always accurate, but it offers small-business owners a good, free starting point.
  • Some have used the tool to support influencer marketing and save time on user research.
  • This article is part of " Marketing for Small Business ," a series exploring the basics of marketing strategy for SBOs to earn new customers and grow their business.

Insider Today

When Candice Smith started experimenting with ChatGPT for marketing her public-relations agency, French Press PR , she found that common ways other people were using the tool didn't resonate with her.

"I used it initially for research, and then I was really disenchanted with it because it was making up the answers," she said, adding that she also played with using it for copywriting but didn't like the tone of the AI-generated content.

After much experimentation, Smith found a use for ChatGPT in her marketing toolbox: She throws campaign ideas back and forth with it, the way she might brainstorm with a teammate.

Marina Guastavino described ChatGPT as the "perfect copilot" for launching her company, Directo , a web extension to help travelers book hotel accommodations. She said ChatGPT helped her cut her launch timeline to about a month and see new possibilities for marketing.

"Sometimes it comes up with some crazy ideas, but that's good because it opens up your mind," Guastavino said.

Christal Alert, the founder of Tonal Cosmetics , said she uses ChatGPT to get marketing expertise she can't necessarily afford as a small brand. She described using AI tools as extensions of her team.

Here are three ways these small-business owners have experimented with AI to support their marketing strategies.

Source influencers and support outreach

Alert, who works with 30 to 40 influencers a month for her beauty brand, said she was spending one or two hours a day looking for and reaching out to new influencers.

To make that easier, she shared information about the company's target customers and user personas with ChatGPT and asked it to create a list of influencers who aligned with the brand's personality and ethos. She also uses AI to draft emails and direct messages she sends to influencers.

"While this process incorporates human oversight to ensure a personal touch, it significantly streamlines the influencer outreach journey, saving us precious time that would have otherwise been spent scouring for influencers," she said, adding that she spends half as much time doing outreach as she used to.

In October, Alert used ChatGPT to help her conceptualize and organize an influencer event, so she didn't need to pay for an event planner.

Cut time spent on user research

Guastavino wanted to get her product to market quickly. To help with user research, she asked ChatGPT for ideas about the types of users she might target.

"We say our extension is useful for frequent travelers, but who is a frequent traveler, and why do people travel frequently?" Guastavino said. "It came up with a couple of different types of people, like business travelers, people that travel for a living like influencers or bloggers, digital nomads."

She said the program gave her generic answers at first, but when she asked it for more-specific or unexpected ideas, it came up with user types she hadn't thought of.

As she asked questions about travelers' motivations and behaviors, she got a better sense of their problems and how she might position her product to resonate with different types of travelers.

"I made different marketing messages for each of them, and I was able to target them a little bit more," she said, adding that she thinks this approach helped her gain more than 25,000 users within six months of launching.

Create a launch campaign

When Smith had an idea for a lead-magnet quiz to market a relaunch of her PR accelerator program, she felt overwhelmed figuring out exactly how to distribute it.

"I'm so used to making connections with people and having word of mouth be the way that I promote my services, I was very unsure about how to promote this quiz," Smith said.

She gave ChatGPT context about what she was creating and who it was for, and the tool outlined a launch plan she could follow, including creating a prelaunch landing page and developing a drip email campaign. It even offered ideas for blog posts to promote the quiz.

Smith said she likes to approach working through ideas with ChatGPT as if she's chatting with a colleague.

"Give it as much background as possible, give it context of what you're expecting from it, maybe even tell it what you don't want to get, and play with that," she said, adding that the tool isn't a replacement for creativity but a thought partner.

"I'm using this to start myself off," Smith said. "I'm saving myself many, many hours of work, because I have something to react to rather than creating from scratch."

business plan work ideas

business plan work ideas

Small Business Trends

16 shipping container business ideas.

shipping container business ideas

If you are looking for a business investment that can be modular, comes with relatively low running costs, and has a compact work space perhaps you should consider opening a shipping container business.

In times of economic uncertainty starting a shipping container business can be an ideal venture where you can get your business up and running. with little cash outlay in terms of construction project costs and capitalizing on new architectural innovation, your business will have more flexibility and an edge over the competition.

business plan work ideas

What is a Shipping Container Business?

Shipping container businesses are business operations that are highly sustainable and budget-friendly construction solutions. They are eco-friendly, versatile, sturdy, and made with an industrial-grade steel exterior that can withstand even the most severe weather conditions. They provide plenty of business opportunities for small space businesses and start-ups by offering efficient dimensions and square footage. They can also be easily customized and stacked to create just about any sort of design, layout, and size imaginable. They can be used as either temporary, semi-permanent, or permanent structures for almost any business need or even residential structures.

  • READ MORE: Small Business Ideas for Beginners

The Business of Shipping Containers

By investing in a shipping container, you significantly cut costs on your construction. The costs that come for brick, mortar, wood, labor, and other expenditure. Shipping containers provide easy customization options and the opportunity to run your own business without incurring high construction costs. With containers, you can easily take down walls, install windows and doors, add air conditioners, and even add lighting. They also come with options to transport wherever you need and can be modified to take whatever shape as you can stack them up or assemble them side by side. You are only limited by your imagination.

Our Methodology for Choosing Shipping Container Business Ideas that Can Appeal to Entrepreneurs

When it comes to choosing the right business idea involving shipping containers, there are several key criteria to consider. We’ll rate these criteria on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest importance and 1 being the lowest:

  • Market Demand (Rating: 5) : Assess the demand for services or products related to shipping containers in your chosen niche. Strong demand is essential for a successful business.
  • Innovation and Uniqueness (Rating: 5) : Emphasize the innovation and uniqueness of your shipping container business idea. Stand out in the market with a distinctive offering.
  • Feasibility (Rating: 4) : Evaluate the practicality and feasibility of implementing your shipping container business, considering factors like location, resources, and logistics.
  • Budget and Investment (Rating: 4) : Determine the budget required to start and run your shipping container business, including container purchase or modification costs.
  • Sustainability (Rating: 4) : Consider the sustainability of your shipping container business, both environmentally and financially, over the long term.
  • Market Analysis (Rating: 3) : Conduct thorough market research to understand the competition, pricing, and trends within the shipping container industry.
  • Regulatory Compliance (Rating: 3) : Ensure that your shipping container business complies with all relevant regulations and permits, especially if you plan to modify containers.
  • Customer Engagement (Rating: 3) : Plan for excellent customer engagement and support, as it can lead to repeat business and referrals.
  • Technology Integration (Rating: 2) : Incorporate technology solutions that enhance your shipping container business operations, such as inventory management systems.
  • Marketing and Promotion (Rating: 2) : Develop effective marketing strategies and branding to promote your shipping container services or products.

Best Shipping Container Business Ideas

There really are no limits to what sorts of businesses you can run with a shipping container office without the headache of a long-term lease.   If you’ve ever aspired to start a business in a shipping container, these shipping container business ideas may just inspire you to take the next step. 

Small Business Deals

1. coffee shop.

A coffee shop can be a fun and popular way to make money with a shipping container.  Opening up your unique coffee shop in foot traffic-heavy locations can help you capture a good customer base within your local community as you offer them the opportunity to get their favorite brew while on the move.  You can also alter the coffee shop to be either permanent or make it mobile so that you can change locations.

Shipping Container Business Ideas

2. Storage Facility

You could convert storage containers into storage facilities and generate some income by tapping into some seasonal business. By offering storage facilities for a fee, you can offer your services to people who do not have enough space in their homes to store their furniture, holiday decorations, appliances, documents, memorabilia, clothing, and other items.

3. Shipping Container Homes

Shipping containers can also be converted into homes. There is a huge market among homeowners looking for homes with lower construction and maintenance costs. Shipping containers generally come in 10ft, 20ft, and 40ft sizes and come with prefabricated modular units that make construction time much shorter.

4. Art Gallery

If you are in the fine art business opening a shipping container gallery can be something to look into. Shipping containers can make ideal pop-up galleries as they are not only easy to move around, but can be easily modified, and offer cost savings compared to traditional buildings.

5. Office Space

Finding affordable office space can be hard, especially in areas where renting office space is expensive. You can slim down your office rent costs or even rent out office space in your empty shipping containers. Due to their compact size, shipping containers can fit in literally anywhere from parking lots, venues, or even a more open outdoor area like next to warehouses. They also come with options to transport your workspace wherever you need and can be modified to take whatever shape your office space requires.

Shipping Container Business Ideas

6. Dog Grooming Service

A shipping container offers the right size for you to set up a dog grooming service. Thanks to its compact size you can easily store your dog grooming equipment. Interestingly the dog grooming business is big and is estimated at about $8 billion in the US with around 130,000 grooming businesses employing some 230,000 employees. You can operate out of your fixed location or run a mobile grooming business.

7. Yoga Studio

If you are a good yoga instructor you can offer yoga classes from the comfort of your storage container. Because shipping containers come relatively cheap you can start your yoga studio business on a shoestring and encourage repeat customers.

8. Solar Powered Hostel

There is a growing environmentally conscious customer segment, a solar-powered hostel will not only help to satisfy the demand for an eco-friendly living but also offers an off-the-grid option as well. This comes in handy during the summer when people are looking for cozy, insulated recycled shipping containers on campsites or even at festivals.

Shipping Container Business Ideas

9. Small Gym

Smaller personal gyms or even CrossFit gyms are all the rage these days. People are always looking for a quick workout that is in a convenient location while also offering them their own personal space to work out. A converted shipping container gym can be a great small business idea offering a mobile and affordable option.

10. Nail Salon

Having a nail or hair salon in a converted shipping container offers rich rewards. Using repurposed shipping containers can be a great start-up option as you can start your nail salon by helping to store your equipment and run your low-cost business with minimal staff.

11. Pop-Up Shop

You can use shipping containers for pop-up shops to sell your unique products and services where your customers gather in events, parks, or any other outdoor venues. Pop-up stores are for retailers interested in getting their online store products in front of people for a low overhead cost and connecting with new customers.

Shipping Container Business Ideas

12. Event Space

There is a growing demand by companies to rent out shipping containers for events such as concerts, trade fairs, and other events. They could help showcase your marketing collateral, samples, freebies, products, and services to vising attendees.

13. Restaurant

If you are in the catering business or want to try your hand at a food business with an intimate setting indoors as well as outdoors. A converted shipping container restaurant can get you started. Not only will a shipping container easily accommodate small dinners like your kitchen equipment but take you on the road to cater to customers at a shopping center or other venues. If you are looking for inspiration for ideas on what type of food business you want to invest in, check out all of these ideas.

  • READ MORE: 84 Food Business Ideas

14.  Gift shop

A shipping container can be a good outlet for impulse buying to sell antiques, gifts, sweets, and more. You can design your gift shop with various shelving and display cases, and customized doors that open up to allow you to easily display items to attract customers. You can even plant yourself at an ideal spot, or be mobile so you can arrange to move from site to site throughout the peak tourist season.

15. Florist Shop

If you are into gardening, you can start your own cost-effective flower stand and florist store with a converted shipping container. You can use the shipping container to go directly to where people congregate offering a convenient and accessible shopping experience on the fly. These containers are highly suitable for growing plants offering consistent temperature and humidity conditions as they are capable of withstanding extreme weather and temperatures.

16. Book Store

Book stores can be a perfect shipping container business idea as it offers plenty of space for shelves filled with best seller books or rare edition prints. With your refurbished container you can allow people to easily browse titles and even borrow books.

If you are looking for more small business ideas checkout out our article on Small Business Ideas for Beginners.

Innovative Ventures with Shipping Containers

Embracing the possibilities of a shipping container business opens doors to a realm of innovative and adaptable entrepreneurial ventures. The modular nature, cost-effective setup, and compact footprint of shipping containers make them an attractive choice for various businesses, especially in times of economic uncertainty. This conclusion underscores the potential and diverse range of shipping container business opportunities:

  • A Green Revolution: Shipping container businesses epitomize sustainability and budget-friendliness. With an industrial-grade steel exterior that withstands harsh weather, these structures provide eco-friendly solutions while offering countless possibilities for small space enterprises and startups.
  • Economic Advantage: By leveraging shipping containers, you substantially reduce traditional construction costs. This includes expenses related to labor, materials, and facilities. Customizable and easily adaptable, containers enable business launches with minimal upfront investment.
  • Endless Potential: The versatility of shipping container businesses knows no bounds. Whether it’s a trendy coffee shop, a flexible storage facility, innovative shipping container homes, pop-up galleries, or even a unique yoga studio, the potential business ideas are bound only by imagination.
  • Realizing Vision: Shipping containers offer a canvas for entrepreneurs to translate their ideas into reality. With the ability to dismantle walls, install amenities, and modify the container’s shape, businesses can be tailored precisely to meet market needs.
  • Catering to Demands: These adaptable spaces find resonance in modern lifestyle demands. From solar-powered hostels appealing to eco-conscious travelers to compact gyms, nail salons, and pop-up shops that serve convenience seekers, shipping container businesses are poised to cater to evolving trends.
  • Diverse Market Reach: From retail to hospitality, every sector can find innovative uses for shipping containers. Whether it’s hosting events, housing restaurants, or running florist shops, these structures serve as efficient spaces to connect with customers and clients.

As you embark on the journey of establishing a shipping container business, recognize the limitless potential that these structures offer. They not only align with budget constraints but also provide an avenue for originality and resourceful entrepreneurship. The world of shipping container businesses is brimming with opportunities waiting to be explored, reshaping the entrepreneurial landscape in exciting and sustainable ways.

Image: Envato Elements

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30 team building exercises for the 2023 workplace


Understand Yourself Better:

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Team building activities are a common way to build camaraderie between workers and to develop personal relationships between team members. Though they aren’t always loved by all, team building activities do benefit employees and organizations as whole. So finding and organizing activities your team members will actually enjoy is an important step in cultivating and fostering a thriving company culture .

A team-building event can form the foundation of improved morale among colleagues. Management can identify leadership strengths among employees. Co-workers will learn the value of co-operation. They are also able to display abilities outside of work skills. Who knew your account executives were such enthusiastic singers?

Despite their benefits, team-building activities at work aren’t always welcome. 

This guide will share activities that can boost employee engagement and participation. To keep participants interested, try the following exercises at your next team meeting or offsite for colleagues to try together.

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Why are team-building exercises important?

Team building activities are a core component of work life. Any company invested in developing effective workers should engage in these activities. These opportunities for team bonding foster friendship and community within the workplace. In turn, this helps to improve worker satisfaction and happiness. Around 13% of employees assert that they are more productive when happy . 

Team building events are a continuous process. They are necessary to form stronger ties between workers and the company. When team building is a workplace staple, these are common benefits:

1. Streamlines your onboarding system

Fun team-building events are a great way to introduce new hires to colleagues and company culture. New employees enjoy a first-hand look at how co-workers interact. In record time, they learn the ease with which superiors and their reports communicate. 

These events show that a company prioritizes seamless integration into work teams. By breaking the ice in a fun way, new recruits learn the ropes in a quicker, more laidback environment.

2. Improves communication 

Proper communication skills are a valuable tool in the workplace. The work environment thrives when employees are equipped with the right information. When communication channels suffer, it can reduce efficiency and collaboration.

Team building exercises can target communication between team members. When colleagues co-operate on tasks, this can teach the basics of communication.

3. Boosts morale

Employees feel appreciated when their affairs outside work are put into consideration. When a company organizes a team-building event, it passes a message. It shows that management considers workers’ interests, strengths, and experience.

Workers are likely to show enthusiasm in a workplace that champions their welfare. These exercises also increase individual confidence in executing tasks. Colleagues learn to rely on the rest of the team based on how well they handle team-building exercises. After all, if someone shows an uncanny knack for escape rooms, they’re probably the first one you’ll think of for in-office problem-solving.

4. Increases trust

Team building is often carried out with a common goal in mind. Watching how colleagues handle wins and challenges builds trust. 

Colleagues become aware of character. They recognize colleagues that can be trusted to work without constant check-ins. They may also identify co-workers that can grow from regular check-ins and support. Team building exercises form building blocks for a great team anchored in trust .

5. Encourages creativity

Team building exercises encourage workers to use different measures to fulfill tasks. Colleagues think outside the box during tasks together. Workers deviating from strict rules can encourage creativity in work projects .


30 team-building exercises employees will actually enjoy

Team-building activities.

  • Two truths and a lie
  • The one-word icebreaker game
  • Office trivia
  • A penny for your thoughts
  • What do we have in common?
  • Lost on a desert island
  • The marshmallow challenge
  • The egg drop
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Birthday lineup
  • Perfect square
  • Play board games
  • Creative activities
  • Classify this
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Sales pitch
  • A compliment circle
  • Company Concentration
  • All the news
  • Shrinking vessel
  • Memory wall
  • Murder-mystery games
  • Bridge build
  • Plot me out

Team building activities to break the ice

Icebreakers are ideal team-building exercises for new hires in the workplace. They help recruits adjust to the workplace and new recruits.

These events are a fun way to welcome new hires into an unfamiliar environment. They include activities such as:

1. Two truths and a lie

Group size: 5-8

Purpose of activity: to build familiarity between colleagues 

Time commitment : 30 minutes

New recruits may struggle to navigate different personalities in the office. To ease into these interactions, companies can organize a game of two truths and a lie. 

This game requires participants to share two honest events, and one lie. This can take place over an arranged break or during lunchtime. 

While gathered, each person presents the truths and lies. It is then up to the listeners to guess what may be true or false.

Two truths and a lie is an easy game to break the ice between workers and a new colleague. They push colleagues to get personal, forming an easy bond.

2. The one-word icebreaker game

Group size : 4-5 people per group

Purpose of activity: to understand feelings towards a work affair

Time commitment : 20 minutes

This game provides an informal avenue to learn employee thoughts on an aspect of work. This could be a new policy, company culture, or even the methods of a supervisor.

The one-word icebreaker game requires a group or groups made of 4-5 people. Within that group, each member is asked to give a one-word descriptor of a work event. 

For honest conversation, each group has a few minutes to discuss the reasons behind their chosen word. After discussions, each group will settle on a chosen word to be shared with other groups.

When these words are shared, they will prompt open discussion between the groups.

3. Office trivia

Group size : 5-20 people

Time commitment : 30-45 minutes

An unfamiliar environment can feel alienating to a new recruit. A trivia session where players answer lighthearted questions can be a warm welcome.

These questions can quiz on the office’s preferred brand of coffee beans. Likewise, queries on colleagues that add cereal before milk, etc, are fun additions.

Office trivia is breezy, with more serious inquiries reserved for appropriate scenarios. The aim is to open up the office as a friendly environment for new recruits.

4. A penny for your thoughts

Group size : 5-7 people

Purpose of activity: to build personal relationships between workers

Time commitment : 35 minutes

This game provides an interesting spin on icebreakers. It requires pennies or coins with listed years and a container to place them in.

With the coins in the container, members of the group will reach in, and identify the year inscribed. The colleague will then share a personal event from that time.

This activity can create a bond between teammates. ​​ Colleagues build relationships when they learn personal facts about team members. 

4. What do we have in common?

Group size : 20-50 people

Purpose of activity: to encourage interactions between large organizations

Time commitment : 40-60 minutes

Personal employee engagement in large organizations can be challenging. When departments and personnel rarely interact, a simple exercise can improve relations.

The common game can be carried out in-person or as virtual team building . Over the course of a company lunch, or zoom call, members from different groups are placed in units.

Within these units, members are to find out between 5-10 things they share in common.

It could be a favorite pizza flavor or a shared love for classical music. Considerable probing takes place to learn about shared experiences. This will push colleagues to learn a large amount of information in a short period.

5. Whodunit

Group size: 5-10 people

Purpose of activity: to improve the knowledge colleagues have of team members

Time commitment: 20-30 minutes

This game offers great insight into the extracurricular activities teammates engage in. Whodunit requires a small group of people to write on a note, one interesting thing they’ve done. These include activities like the past winner of a food-eating competition, skydiving, etc.

This note is then placed into a container that other members of the group pick from.

Teammates are required to guess which colleague fits the bill of the note selected. They will give reasons why opening discussions as to why this may be correct or wrong. 

6. Lost on a desert island

Purpose of activity: to get teammates excited for upcoming goals

Time commitment : 45-50 minutes

Team members of any age can enjoy learning more about their colleagues. The premise of this game centers on players lost and stuck on a deserted island. 

They share with each other, one item they would bring along with them and why. 

This gives co-workers an intimate look at objects and feelings held dear by group members.


Team building activities for teamwork

Activities that encourage teamwork boost elements that ensure a team is healthy. With the right exercises, team members learn the value of communication and partnership. Colleagues can build trust when executing tasks. 

7. The marshmallow challenge

Group size : groups of 4 members

Purpose of activity: to test how creatively teams work together

Time commitment : 20-30 minutes

Team members are given 20 sticks of spaghetti, one marshmallow, plus one yard of string and tape.

Using these materials, each team is to create the tallest freestanding structure possible.

Colleagues are pushed to work together on a creative, lighthearted task. But while this activity is laid back, members learn the strong effects of collaboration.

When the structures are built, players determine the winner using a measuring tape.

8. Frostbite

Group size : groups of five or six people

Purpose of activity: to encourage co-operation between team members

This game will require a team leader and subordinates. Also necessary are sticky notes or post-its, toothpicks, thick cardboard boxes, and a fan.

Ignoring the office or other environment, participants pretend to be in the arctic. They are being guided on an arctic exhibition which they need to survive. Team members are to build the shelter for their survival. In a democratic setting, teammates elect a leader to guide them through this activity.

The team lead will give instructions on how this structure should be erected. He is unable to take part due to frostbite suffered during the journey. While blindfolded, team members build the structure using the leader's verbal instructions.

This task will teach supervisory abilities and instruction-taking skills. Members also learn the value of time management during tasks.

9. Human knot

Group size : 8-16 people

Purpose of activity: to build collaboration between team members

This game is ideal for large teams and can really push people outside of their comfort zones. While gathered in a circle, team members join right and left hands with a person opposite them. Teammates cannot hold hands with the person next to them.

When all members have their hands in a knot, the game requires this knot to be untangled without releasing their hands. It requires communication and careful instruction to be successful.

The first team to stand in a perfect circle with hands joined wins.

10. Gutterball

Group size : 8-20 people

Time commitment : 30-60 minutes

In this game, team members are tasked with moving a ball from one end of the room to another. This game can be made more challenging by including obstacles throughout the game. 

11. The egg drop

Group size : groups of 5-8 people

Purpose of activity: to promote teamwork between team members

The egg drop is a fun activity to determine how well team members work together. Using different materials, teammates build a structure to support a falling egg.

The team that builds a surface to withstand the fragile egg drop wins. It’s however important for each participant to feel like a winner. Team members can discuss collaborative skills learned from the task.

12. Scavenger hunt

Purpose of activity: to work together to find an object

A scavenger hunt is a great opportunity for seasoned and new workers to explore the company (or conference room). The physical and factual parts of the office can be understood when hunts are well executed.

For team-building, colleagues go in search of hidden facts and questions around the office.

This can be achieved with a single team of co-workers. In larger organizations, groups or departments can compete against each other.

13. Birthday lineup

Group size : 8-15 people

Purpose of activity: to show how well team workers can co-operate

This game will begin with groups of 8-15 people standing side-by-side. Once in a file, they will re-shuffle in line with their birthdates. Team members are filed according to months and days.

However, this should be communicated without speaking. The game is played by using signs and symbols to interact. Ideally, the entire group will be standing in order of their birthdays by the end of the exercise.

This exercise reveals how well teammates can coordinate on tasks.

14. Perfect square

Group size : groups of 6

Purpose of activity : to apply another form co-operation 

In groups of six, team members form a circle around a rope. They are blindfolded to begin the game.

The members will then form a square by communicating in different ways.

This will offer practice on effective interaction among partners.

15. Play board games or puzzles

Purpose of activity: to collaborate with members

Office-friendly board games and jigsaw puzzles are a fun spin on collaboration. There are many work puzzles, strategy, or icebreaker games for colleagues to attempt. Board games are usually designed for smaller teams. If you have a large group, you might have to play multiple games, split the entire team into smaller teams, or get creative with the rules.

Team building activities to boost creativity

Creativity comes in many forms. Most any activity that encourages individuals to think outside of the box will ignite their creative minds. These games call upon communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills.

16. Classify this

This is a chance for team members to express creative thinking for tasks. Different objects are grouped together. These can be items around the office. Coffee supplies, paperweights, water bottles, etc will do. Around 20 objects are used when playing.

In groups of twos or fours, team members will classify the objects into a group that links them all. The groups find common denominators in each item. 

Each group elects a speaker to explain the reasoning behind each cluster.

17. Salt and Pepper

Group size : Pairs of 2

This game is played in pairs. Each group is labeled as a pair e.g macaroni and cheese, water and oil, peanut butter and jelly. Every group member will have one name taped to his back.

To find out what is written, each player will ask five yes or no questions. The pairs will then find each other.

18. Sales pitch

Group size : 8 people

Time commitment : 45 minutes

Team members can engage in quick reasoning through a sales pitch. This exercise follows each person as they select one item from the office. For the next 15 minutes, they'll craft a sales pitch promoting it.

Each object will be given a name, logo, and motto. They’ll also give a whiteboard presentation explaining why their fountain pen, sheets of paper, or office pin should be patronized.

19. A compliment circle

Purpose of activity: to share different ways team members appreciate each other

A team can be built and strengthened from regular recognition. While gathered in a circle, team members acknowledge the effort made by colleagues. It can be anything from thanks for being a listening ear, to efficiency in deliverables.


Strategic team building activities

These exercises demonstrate how each person views the workplace. Strategic exercises target brand identity in the office. Employees swap ideas on what they believe about the company’s goals.

This opens up an environment to stay on track with company missions. New team members can review details and key learnings from orientation , game show style.

20. Company Concentration

Group size : 3-6 people

This game is a work-friendly version of Concentration. Cards containing names and images of colleagues may be made. Cards may also have company facts like the logo, mission statement, motto, values, etc. 

Each player then selects two cards to see if they match. The quickest to match the cards wins.

21. Minefield

Purpose of activity: to improve trust and partnership between colleagues

To play this game, around 20 small objects are required. This can be anything from lunchboxes to coffee mugs. In pairs of two, one blindfolded person will be led by a seeing partner. They are to navigate the obstacle course using clear communication.

22. All the news

This game encourages team members to get excited about projected goals. In groups of 3-6, team members in a department share headlines of potential feats.

These headlines are shared as in a newspaper article. As a unit or through a spokesperson, the measures required to reach this are reviewed.

This may be played by in-office workers and members of remote teams.

23. Slideshow

Purpose of activity: to apply team effort when exploring an idea

Team members select any topic of their choice. In specified groups, each idea is analyzed and presented. This highlights that team members can work together, even away from usual tasks.

Slideshow exercises also help to hone presentation skills.

24. Shrinking vessel

Group size : 8-10 people

Purpose of activity: to explore adaptability within the team

The shrinking vessel is ideal for small teams. The idea is that players are on a sinking ship, and are required to huddle close. Members are placed within a boundary marked by a rope. The game requires that the boundary is tightened. This requires creativity and athletic ability for members to stay within confines.

25. Memory wall

Purpose of activity: to recall special moments in the office and their effects on the team

The memory wall is made up of key points witnessed by team members. Written on a sticky note or across a whiteboard, team members recall 

26. Guess who

Group size : groups of three to four people

Purpose of activity: to build connections between team members

Led by a moderator, team members are split into groups. Using clues shared by the coordinator, each group will decide who may be knocking on their door.

The person knocking may be a member of the company being described. Team members may also take on celebrity personalities to be decoded.

Problem-solving team building activities

These exercises permit team members to find unique ways to collaborate. Participants will be able to flex their communication skills and expand their problem-solving capabilities.

27. Murder-mystery games

Group size : 8-50 people

Purpose of activity: to encourage imaginative ways of collaboration

Here, team members cooperate to understand clues and rules of the game. Through clear communication, the successful team members uncover the story behind the crime.

28. Bridge build

Group size : two teams made of 8-16 people

Purpose of activity: to promote teamwork through challenges

Team members are required to practice effective communication. Either team is required to construct one-half of the bridge using provided materials. However, each team member must participate in either half. Members are also prevented from speaking. They are to co-operate to build their design.

29. Plot me out

Group size : groups of 4-6 people

Purpose of activity: to build a rapport between colleagues

Movie and television show buffs will enjoy this game. Here, a moderator narrates the plot of a movie. Players grouped into teams are to guess what movie or television show is described.

This provides a laid back atmosphere for workers to relax and interact.

Grow your skills through team building activities

Team building games can be a fun way to exercise new skills, build camaraderie, and get to know one another. Whether meeting virtually or in-person, find a way to incorporate these team-building activities into your workspace or next retreat . People will benefit from the opportunity to change up their routines. They’ll collaborate in different ways and get to know each other — and themselves — better.

See how BetterUp works - Watch Demo

Allaya Cooks-Campbell

BetterUp Associate Learning Experience Designer

Self-Disclosure at Work: Strengthening Team Bonds and Communication

8 strategies to collaborate effectively in the workplace, want to thrive at work learn these essential teamwork skills, the importance of teamwork for agility at work, team collaboration 101: learning the art of working together, what will make or break your next role find out why teamwork matters, 13 benefits of collaboration your organization needs to know, 8 team bonding activities to increase engagement and collaboration, productive conflict isn’t bad, especially in the workplace, similar articles, how to spend quality time with family (even when you’re busy), give your brain a workout: 10 concentration exercises to up your focus, ideas for wellness challenges (that employees won’t hate), 14 icebreaker games for small groups that help build coworker connections, 35 fun virtual team-building activities for your employees in 2023, spice things up with these icebreakers for virtual meetings, 10 company retreat ideas to unite and inspire your team, looking to improve company culture try these 23 fun activities, stay connected with betterup, get our newsletter, event invites, plus product insights and research..

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