People are always asking us for examples of business plans, which is a bit ironic, in that every credible plan I’ve ever seen has “Confidential” stamped all over it. That said, there are samples out there, which is fine as long as you don’t assume you should do it the way they did it.
Here are some good places to look for sample business plans:
Palo Alto Software offers more than 100 free plans in 28 different categories. The plans are truly free; their hook is that if you buy their Business Plan Pro software, you can import any number of these plans and edit them to get a good start on your own plan; or use any of the 500+ plans that come with the software.
SCORE, the business advisory nonprofit organization with services delivered by volunteers, provides about a dozen business plan templates.
Entrepreneur lists more than 50 sample business plans in many different sectors.
Center for Business Planning provides business plan “winners” from their Moot Corp Competition, which simulates entrepreneurs asking for funding. MBA students prepare the plans.
About.com provides a fictional “professional” plan “with exceptional graphics and formatting” with (gulp) ten appendices. Their Critical Steps for Business Planning is worth taking a look at also.
The Bridgespan Group offers several sample business plans for nonprofit organizations.
Unfortunately, there is no standard business plan format. Use these samples, and the suggested reading mentioned in my previous blogs, to inform your thinking. Then create a plan (or hire a consultant) that works for your market, for your business and for you. Good luck!
For more resources, see our Library topic Business Planning.
Copyright © 2010 Rolfe Larson Associates – Fifteenth Anniversary, 1995 – 2010
Author of Venture Forth! Endorsed by the late Paul Newman of Newman’s Own
Read my weekly blogs on Social Enterprise and Business Planning