A typical standard business plan usually consists of a single document containing a single page for the purpose of describing the business, an overview of the company, the target market, a history of the company, and a series of marketing strategies, product development, distribution, investment, and financing. It should also provide a good estimate of future earnings and loss. A business plan template, on the other hand, is a set of general format specifications for describing similar business plans, usually presented in a more readable and detailed manner. They are very helpful for those who are planning to start a new business venture, as well as for those who are already involved in some type of business venture.
In the current difficult economic times, many business plan templates focus mainly on two major uses: they provide a good format to write a business plan with, or without outside funding sources; and they provide a good template for describing angel investors and third-party funding sources. A common problem of most business owners is the lack of preparedness regarding how to raise money for their venture. A good template provides detailed information on how to identify potential funding sources, what is needed to convince investors to invest, how to get those funds, and how to pay off investors once such money is raised. An example of such a template is the one provided by Angel Investors Network (IONS). It highlights the characteristics of a good angel investor list.
Other templates provide investors with general ideas about how to invest money in small business ventures. These include detailed proposals on how to analyze the financial statements of a small business, a discussion of loan terms, a discussion of distribution and pricing issues, an outline of operations and financing, and an analysis of risk. Most such templates provide options for addressing potential problems in such areas as solvency, taxation, and business location. Finally, they usually include procedures for handling payments to suppliers. This can be done by simply including a section on payment terms.
Investors will consider a business plan template that meets certain criteria. The best way to describe it is to say that it should be organized to provide a simple yet effective flowchart of how the investors would fund the venture. The process should be described in layman’s terms so that the layperson can understand it. It should also be sufficiently comprehensive to explain what steps need to be taken in order to make sure that there are no “follow-on” effects from the venture. Finally, the document should be easily modified to accommodate future needs and circumstances.
In addition to being easy to understand, a business plan template that uses standard business plans could also be a great tool for entrepreneurs who do not have a clear idea about what those plans are. By using this type of document, entrepreneurs can develop ideas for their own venture, but they don’t have to deal with the complications involved with conceptualizing and building that idea into a working business. By simply following the steps outlined in standard business plans, entrepreneurs can present their idea to others and get funding in a much more expedited manner. They can do this simply because they know how to write a good business plan template.
Of course, in order to use a simple business plan template, one must know how to read and reply to the key questions included in the document. In order to do that, though, an entrepreneur must have a good sense of his or her own knowledge and ability in answering key questions. By using a template, an individual can become a more effective business plan writer without having to spend a lot of time learning how to write one.