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Top 10 Business Plan Templates You Can Download Free

Why reinvent the wheel? Get a professional business plan template at no cost.

BUSINESS PLANS http://www.inc.com/business-plans

Top 10 Business Plan Templates You Can Download Free

Why reinvent the wheel? Get a professional business plan template at no cost.

http://www.inc.com/author/larry-kim

BY LARRY KIM

@larrykim http://www.twitter.com/larrykim

CREDIT: Getty Images

Writing your business plan. Ughhhh.

It's definitely not the most exciting part of starting a business. In fact, if you're like a lot of entrepreneurs, you're probably going to find yourself pulling a few all-nighters to get one done before heading into your first pitch for funding http://www.inc.com/larry-kim/4-things-learn-from-investor-rejection-letters.html. Because that's the thing--your business plan is a pretty important.

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BUSINESS PLANS http://www.inc.com/business-plans

Top 10 Business Plan Templates You Can Download Free

Why reinvent the wheel? Get a professional business plan template at no cost.

http://www.inc.com/author/larry-kim

BY LARRY KIM

@larrykim http://www.twitter.com/larrykim

CREDIT: Getty Images

Writing your business plan. Ughhhh.

It's definitely not the most exciting part of starting a business. In fact, if you're like a lot of entrepreneurs, you're probably going to find yourself pulling a few all-nighters to get one done before heading into your first pitch for funding http://www.inc.com/larry-kim/4-things-learn-from-investor-rejection-letters.html. Because that's the thing--your business plan is a pretty important.

Any funder worth his or her salt wants to see it right off the bat. Moreover though, a solid business plan is a living document that will continue to guide your efforts as your business grows. Recently, I shared 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups http://www.inc.com/larry-kim/avoid-these-18-entrepreneurial-mistakes-for-a-more-successful-start-up.html, an infographic created by Mark Vital over at Funders and Founders.

A lot of those mistakes (most of them, in fact) are the result of poor planning. Bad location, a marginal niche, having no specific user in mind, raising too much or too little money--all of these issues can be prevented or at least mitigated with good planning.

Creating your business plan is more than just getting your ideas down on paper for potential funders to see. It's an exploratory process in which you can evaluate your options, test your assumptions about your idea, and even discover new opportunities. It might even lead you to kill off aspects of your business http://www.inc.com/larry-kim/cash-strapped-about-to-collapse-4-tips.html before investing too much time or money in them.

That doesn't mean you have to bust out Word and start the plan from scratch. A template is great--you probably aren't doing anything that hasn't been done before, so it provides a proven structure for your plan. Pretty much everything on it can be customized. Check out these comprehensive business plan templates you can download for free to get you started:

1. *Score's Business Plan Template for Startups https://www.score.org/resources/business-plan-template-startup-business*

Score is an American nonprofit dedicated to helping entrepreneurs get their companies off the ground. Its template, available as a PDF or Word download, asks a whopping 150 questions and is generic enough to customize for most types of businesses. The Refining the Plan resource that comes with it is helpful, especially if this is your first crack at writing a business plan.

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Pay Close Attention to the Man Behind TOMS Shoes

Video Game Company Atari Still Exists--and It's Getting Into the Internet of Things

The Power of Superstition: Stephen Curry Shoots Better When He Chews His Mouthguard

This $100 Million Company Will Donate $1 For Your Hero Story

18 Habits of Mentally Strong People

The 7 Ingredients of Successful Scaling

COMMUNICATION

5 Words Customers Hate (and What to Say Instead)

LinkedIn Just Made a Savvy Business Move and Nobody Noticed

Want to Be Happier? Ask Yourself This Question Every Morning

Marrying the Right Person Makes You More Successful, According to Science

The Best Music for Staying Productive at Work, Backed by Science

10 Signs You Really Are a Leader (and Might Not Know It)

10 Daily Habits That Will Radically Improve Your Life

TIME-MANAGEMENT

9 Things Enormously Productive People Refuse to Do

21 Awesome Places to Learn Critical Skills That Will Change Your Life

TODAY'S MUST READS

PREVIOUS ARTICLE

NEXT ARTICLE

BUSINESS PLANS http://www.inc.com/business-plans

Top 10 Business Plan Templates You Can Download Free

Why reinvent the wheel? Get a professional business plan template at no cost.

http://www.inc.com/author/larry-kim

BY LARRY KIM

@larrykim http://www.twitter.com/larrykim

CREDIT: Getty Images

Writing your business plan. Ughhhh.

It's definitely not the most exciting part of starting a business. In fact, if you're like a lot of entrepreneurs, you're probably going to find yourself pulling a few all-nighters to get one done before heading into your first pitch for funding http://www.inc.com/larry-kim/4-things-learn-from-investor-rejection-letters.html. Because that's the thing--your business plan is a pretty important.

Any funder worth his or her salt wants to see it right off the bat. Moreover though, a solid business plan is a living document that will continue to guide your efforts as your business grows. Recently, I shared 18 Mistakes That Kill Startups http://www.inc.com/larry-kim/avoid-these-18-entrepreneurial-mistakes-for-a-more-successful-start-up.html, an infographic created by Mark Vital over at Funders and Founders.

A lot of those mistakes (most of them, in fact) are the result of poor planning. Bad location, a marginal niche, having no specific user in mind, raising too much or too little money--all of these issues can be prevented or at least mitigated with good planning.

Creating your business plan is more than just getting your ideas down on paper for potential funders to see. It's an exploratory process in which you can evaluate your options, test your assumptions about your idea, and even discover new opportunities. It might even lead you to kill off aspects of your business http://www.inc.com/larry-kim/cash-strapped-about-to-collapse-4-tips.html before investing too much time or money in them.

That doesn't mean you have to bust out Word and start the plan from scratch. A template is great--you probably aren't doing anything that hasn't been done before, so it provides a proven structure for your plan. Pretty much everything on it can be customized. Check out these comprehensive business plan templates you can download for free to get you started:

1. *Score's Business Plan Template for Startups https://www.score.org/resources/business-plan-template-startup-business*

Score is an American nonprofit dedicated to helping entrepreneurs get their companies off the ground. Its template, available as a PDF or Word download, asks a whopping 150 questions and is generic enough to customize for most types of businesses. The Refining the Plan resource that comes with it is helpful, especially if this is your first crack at writing a business plan.

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*2. U.S https://www.sba.gov/tools/business-plan/1. Small Business Administration Business Plan Engine https://www.sba.gov/tools/business-plan/1*

The SBA's template is available to fill out online and then download as a PDF. You can go back in and edit it as needed, so don't worry about having everything ready the first time you sit down to tackle it. Even broken into sections, it's a long document and a bit of a slog to get through, but it produces a professional-looking and useful business plan. This is particularly helpful if your idea isn't fully fleshed out and you know you have homework to do--it prompts you for information.

3. *The $100 Startup's One-Page Business Plan http://100startup.com/#resources*

Who said a business plan has to be a long, complicated document? Some funders are going to want to see a lot of detail, but you can provide that in appendices. The $100 Startup, the website for the best-selling book of the same name, has a ton of stripped-down resources for entrepreneurs, including this super simplified business plan template.

4. *LawDepot's WYSIWYG Business Plan Template http://www.lawdepot.com/contracts/business-plan/?ldcn=partnership-and-joint-venture*

This one says you just have to answer a few simple questions and will be "done before you know it!" Don't believe it. A business plan should take time and a lot of homework, but if you've already done that, LawDepot's template is a decent choice. It walks you through getting started, marketing, product, competitive analysis, SWOT, and more, with a window below the input fields to show you the plan as you work away at it. You can download it free with a trial subscription, but you'll have to remember to cancel it within the week if you don't plan to continue using it.

5. *SME Toolkit Business Plan Samples http://www.lawdepot.com/contracts/business-plan/?ldcn=partnership-and-joint-venture*

The SME Toolkit, jointly offered by IFC and IBM, offers a simple two-page outline of what should be included in your business plan to meet the minimum requirements of funders and tax authorities (in the U.S.). It contains 10 broad sections, including market analysis, management and organization, etc., with a one-paragraph explanation of each. A second download on the same page is an Excel file to help with your financial projections.

6. *Office Online Templates Galore https://templates.office.com/?legRedir=true&qu=business+plan&av=TPL000&CorrelationId=73deb55a-f0b0-4ed5-8dc4-2b29c03f5a26*

Of course, Microsoft offers a ton of business plan templates for Office users (you can get birthday invitations while you're at it). If you'd rather do a business plan presentation than a Word doc, you can download one of Microsoft Office's half a dozen or so PowerPoint templates for just that purpose. You'll want to customize it with your company branding (you have your branding down, right?), but it's easier than starting from a blank PPT.

7. *vFinance Inc. Business Plan Template and Guide http://www.vfinance.com/invisiframe.asp?URL=%2Fhome%2Easp%3FToolPage%3Dbizplan_download%2Easp%26bps%3D1%26invisiframe%3D1*

Global financial services firm vFinance offers a basi