How to Create a Business Plan

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You’ll get everything you need to quickly create a professional quality business plan including a fill-in-the-blanks template, a complete sample plan and step by step instructional videos.

9 lessons, 43 videos (2h 2m), 20 tools

What you’ll learn

What you’ll learn in How to Create Your Business Plan

You’ll learn exactly what to write at every step of your business plan.

  • You’ll be able to create a complete plan that will serve as a starting and operating guide for your business and also help attract funding.
  • You’ll come up with real-life, actionable strategies that will drive your business to success.
  • You’ll be able to create your plan quickly, with a fill-in-the-blanks template, detailed instructions and a complete sample plan.
  • From analyzing competitors to projecting your finances, you will learn everything you need to know to create a complete business plan.

 

Are you putting together your first business plan? Not to worry! This course is great for people who are putting together their first business plan and have little or no business experience. Everything is explained in simple language. 

You get detailed step-by-step instructions, fill-in-the-blank templates and samples to help guide you along. You will not have to guess! We will show you exactly what to do at each step of creating your plan.

You’ll learn how to put together every part of a comprehensive business plan including:

  • A Business Plan Summary that has the information investors and lenders expect to see.
  • A Market Analysis that includes market segmentation and target market selection.
  • A Customer Analysis that looks at customer characteristics, customer needs, customer buying decisions, the typical “sales journey” and a “buyer persona.”
  • A Competitive Analysis that examines the industry, the nature of competition, principal competitors, and identifies opportunities and threats.
  • A Strategic Analysis that evaluates markets, competitors, and opportunities, and leads to the development of a strong, unique strategy for your business.
  • A Product/Service Analysis that identifies opportunities and develops “differentiation” and pricing strategies for your products or services.
  • A Marketing and Sales Strategy that aligns with your business strategy, highlights your competitive advantages, and cost effectively attracts customers to your business.
  • An Operations Plan that highlights the strengths of your key people (especially yourself), identifies complimentary external resources, and examines the most important aspects of your product/service delivery.
  • A Complete Financials Section that presents Income Statements, Balance Sheets, Cash Flows, Key Ratios and Key Assumptions. (We’ll explain how to do the financials extra carefully and include templates and samples for each one).

You’ll end up with a complete business plan, based upon powerful strategies, that will make it easy to attract customers and outperform your competitors. It will serve as a comprehensive starting and operating guide for your business.

Your plan will help obtain financing, speed the launch of your business, and create a distinctive business model with industry leading profit margins. 

By following our 29 page fill-in-the-blanks template, our step-by-step instructions, and our sample plan, you will be able to easily create a complete business plan.

You’ll also learn how to put together a simple, one page business plan. You’ll get an instructional video, a sample, and a fill-in-the-blanks template. A one-page plan can be a great way to get going in writing the first draft of your plan and can be later expanded into a more comprehensive plan. Some very simple businesses may only need a one page plan.

You’ll avoid the costly business plan mistakes made by most first time entrepreneurs – including the biggest mistake of all – not having a great business plan! Even a small, one person business needs a plan!

You’ll learn from startup expert Bob Adams who has started over a dozen successful businesses, including one that he started in his basement apartment with just $2,000 and sold for $40 million. Bob has a Harvard MBA, has written 17 business books and created 52 business courses. Bob also served on the investment committee of the Watermill Group, where he evaluated business plans and helped decide which proposals to fund.

Get answers to your questions directly from the instructor anytime you get stuck, on our interactive discussion board.

Try this course free for 7 days. You can get unlimited access to How to Create a Business Plan and all other BusinessTown courses for free for 7 days.

Create a professional quality plan that will lead your business to success

You will be able to create an excellent business plan with this course. We explain everything in simple easy-to-follow language, guide you through every step, and tell you exactly what you should write. 

You’ll get a 29-page fill-in-the-blanks template, a complete sample plan and detailed instructions. We explain how to create the financials. And we show you how to build powerful strategies that will give you a strong competitive edge in the marketplace. 

We also show you how to create a one page business plan – perfect for a very simple business or an easy way to get started writing a longer plan.

 

You might have thought about creating a business plan but put it off because either you didn’t know how to get started, what to write, how to do the financials, or didn’t have a lot of time.

Well, creating your business plan just got a lot easier! With this course you’ll learn exactly how to get started, what to write, how to do the financials – and how to do it all in a short period of time!

Our easy-to-follow videos will explain how to write each section of a complete business plan. You will also get a 29-page fill-in-the-blanks template and a sample plan. Plus, we’ll give you instructional videos, samples, and templates for each financial statement or projection that you may need to create.

Complete Business Plan Template

Our 29-page fill-in-the-blanks template will take you step-by-step in creating an excellent plan very quickly. By answering questions and responding to the instructions, you will be guided through the analytical and strategic work necessary to develop an excellent plan for your business.

The template includes all these sections, with instructions for each one:

1. Summary

Business Concept, Key Success Factors, Current Situation, and Financial Needs.

2. Vision/Milestones

Vision Statement and Milestones.

3. Market Analysis

Overall Market, Market Changes, Market Segments, Target Market, Customer Characteristics, Customer Needs, Sales Journey, Buying Decisions, and Buyer Persona.

4. Competitive Analysis

Industry Overview, Nature of the Competition, Industry Changes, Competition, Competitive Products, Opportunities, and Threats and Risks.

5. Strategy

Competitive Capabilities, Competitive Weaknesses, Strategy, and Implementing Strategy.

6. Products/Services

Description of Products/Services, Differentiation, Competitive Evaluation, Pricing, and Future Products.

7. Sales & Marketing

Marketing Strategy, Branding/Product Identity, Unique Selling Proposition, Marketing/Sales Channels, Sales Tactics, Website, Audience Building/Content Marketing/Social Media/Email, Advertising, Promotions/Incentives, Creative Marketing/Guerilla Marketing/Other, Publicity, and Marketing Partners.

8. Operations

Key Personnel, Product/Service Delivery, External Services or Resources, Advisory Board, Customer Service/Support, Facilities, Equipment, Legal Entity, Intellectual Property, and Licenses and Permits. 

9. Financials

Funding Required, Key Assumptions, Break-even, Additional Comments on Financials, Income Statements, Balance Sheets, Cash Flows, Key Ratios.

10. Exhibits

Website Link or Front Page, Resumes, Product/Service Information, Marketing Flyer, Press Release, Media Coverage, Purchase Orders, User Testimonials, Test Marketing, Market Survey, Letters of Intent, Contracts, Asset List, and Leases.

If you think this template feels like too much, don’t be overwhelmed! This is a very comprehensive template – most people will skip a bunch of sections when putting together their plan – and you can too!

One Page Business Plan

In addition to a comprehensive plan, we also show you how to create a simple, one page plan. You’ll get an instructional video, a sample, and a fill-in-the blanks template for this plan too.

A one page plan can be a great way to get going in writing the first draft of your plan. You can easily expand your one page plan into a comprehensive plan anytime you want – because the sections in the one page plan are designed to drop into sections of our comprehensive plan.

For some, very simple businesses, a one page business plan may be all that you need.

You’ll learn from startup expert Bob Adams who has started over a dozen successful businesses, including one that he started in his basement apartment with just $2,000 and sold for $40 million. Bob has a Harvard MBA, has written 17 business books and created 52 business courses. Bob also served on the investment committee of the Watermill Group, where he evaluated business plans and helped decide which proposals to fund.

Get answers to your questions directly from the instructor anytime you get stuck, on our interactive discussion board.

Who is this course for? This course is for anyone who wants to put together a high quality business plan that will drive their business to success.

You get detailed step-by-step instructions, fill-in-the-blank templates, and samples to help guide you along. You will not have to guess! We will show you exactly what to do at each step of creating your plan. 

You will be able to create a plan for any kind of business, in any country, and any size of business, including for a small, one person startup. This course is also perfect if you are trying to improve an existing business and take it to the next level.

Try this course free for 7 days. You can get unlimited access to How to Create a Business Plan and all other BusinessTown courses for free for 7 days.

Includes samples and templates to guide you 

How to Create a Business Plan includes samples and templates to help guide you along

Fill-in-the-blank templates and samples will guide you in creating your business plan. They will save you time, keep you organized, and ensure that you end up with an excellent, comprehensive plan. 

Tools include:

  • Full Business Plan Template, 29 pages
  • Full Sample Business Plan, 35 pages
  • One Page Business Plan Template
  • Sample One Page Business Plan
  • Sample Profit and Loss Projections
  • Sample Pro Forma Balance Sheets
  • Sample Cash Flow Projections

Try BusinessTown free for 7 days

Watch a sample video from the course

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How to Create a Business Plan Content

Your business plan is your business. It should be a living document that tells people what your business is about and where it is going. In this lesson, serial entrepreneur Bob Adams tells you what really matters when getting started with your business plan. You will learn what to emphasize, what tone to use and why your strategy should be the core of your plan. You will discover that the length of your plan doesn’t matter that much. What truly matters is getting started and making your plan as impactful as possible.  

(7:32, 3 videos)

Your business plan should reflect your strategy. In this lesson, you will learn what makes a truly great strategy and how you can come up with one for your business, even if you are starting from scratch. You will learn 6 key things you need to know to create a successful strategy. Serial entrepreneur Bob Adams will show you why you should not copy your competitors and why you should strive to be different.

He will answer the most common questions people ask about strategy like “”Why can’t my strategy be just being the best?” and “Why do I need a strategy if I’m only running a one person business?”.

(10:40, 5 videos)

All businesses should have a plan. But if you are just getting started, it doesn’t need to be 100 pages long… A short and impactful one page business plan could be all you need to get going for a very simple business. In this lesson, Bob Adams will walk you through the sections of a great one-page business plan. He will share his experience and tell you exactly what to do at every single step.

You will get a template for a one page business plan including specific instructions for each section. You will also get a sample plan for a tutoring business to show you an example of a solid one page plan. 

(6:27, 1 video, 1 template. 1 sample)

In this lesson, you will learn how to put together a comprehensive business plan. You will be walked through all the sections step by step in easy to follow and short videos. From your summary to your vision, your finances to your marketing, you will know what to do to build solid strategies that will guide your business to success.

You will get a 29-page business plan template with detailed instructions for each item to make it as easy as possible for you to get started on your own plan.

(16:44, 8 videos, Complete Business Plan Template)

In this lesson, Bob Adams will go through a sample business plan section per section so you can see how it’s done. He will explain all the sections of a complete plan for a bicycle rental business based on his first business: Bob’s Rent-a-Bike.

You will get a complete sample business plan to follow along.

(23:55, 9 videos, 1 sample)

In this lesson, Bob Adams will show you how to create the financial statements that you need to start and run your business right. You will discover how to create an income statement, a balance sheet, a pro forma income statement, a pro forma balance sheet and a pro forma cash flow.

For each of these statements you will get a video to show you exactly what to do, a template to use for your own business, and a sample to show you how it’s done. 

(33:05, 6 videos, 6 templates, 6 samples)

It’s time for some real life examples! Bob Adams walks you through the financial statements for his business Bob’s Rent a Bike. You will go through a sample profit and loss projection, a pro forma balance sheet, a cash flow projection and the key ratios.

For each of these items you will get a video to show you exactly how to build the statements, plus a sample so you can follow along.

(11:02, 4 videos, 4 samples)

How long should your business plan be? How detailed should your budget be? Should you hire an expert to write your plan? How often should you review your plan? In this lesson, serial entrepreneur Bob Adams answers the most common questions entrepreneurs ask about business plans.

(7:48, 5 videos)

Learn 6 critical pieces of advice that you should keep in mind when you are creating your business plan and coming up with your strategy. From how to involve people to why it really matters to be different, Bob Adams shares his experience with you. 

(4:42, 2 videos)

Instructor

Bob Adams

Serial entrepreneur, Harvard MBA and founder of BusinessTown

In this course, Bob shows you exactly what to do to create a business plan. Bob Adams shares the same strategies that he used to build over a dozen successful businesses. Bob has mastered the art of starting businesses with very little money, and making them highly profitable.

Bob started his book publishing company in his basement apartment with just $1500 and no related experience. He built it into one of the largest independent publishers in the US, achieving industry-leading profit margins. He later sold this business for $40 million.

Bob has written 17 books and created 52 courses that have helped over one million entrepreneurs worldwide. Bob also served on the investment committee of the Watermill Group where he evaluated business plans and helped decide which proposals to fund.

 

Hi there! I’m Bob Adams. I’m a Harvard MBA serial entrepreneur. I’ve started over a dozen businesses including BusinessTown, the go-to learning platform for starting and running a business.

I’ve authored or co-authored 17 books on business. I’ve also created 52 online courses for entrepreneurs which you can stream on BusinessTown.

I am so excited that you are considering starting (or perhaps already have started) your own business! For me starting and building my own businesses has been incredibly awesome!

I’ve made a lot of money, created cool products, delivered valuable services, provided employment for others, built some great companies and had one heck of a lot of fun and fulfillment along the way!

I started with nothing. Nobody handed me money or an existing business. Yes, I did get a Harvard MBA – but many of my businesses I started before I ever set foot in a business school classroom.

Most of my businesses I started in my home on a very small budget. I have shown repeatedly that you can start your business small and grow it into a highly profitable enterprise.

When I was 19 and on summer vacation from Carleton College, I started my first business with just $1,000, Bob’s Rent-A-Bike. I had little money, no experience and of course no business plan. In short, I had no idea what I was doing.

My father was appalled. Don’t do it! – he said. It won’t work! Get a real job.

To be honest I was scared the business would fail and I would look like an idiot. But I went ahead and started it anyway. Bob’s Rent-A-Bike was a big success. And I’ve been starting and running my own businesses ever since then.

The flyers for my first business

were rather crude – but they worked!

Another summer I started a house painting business, College Painters. The closest thing I had to experience was that I had painted some model trains and once I even painted an old row boat.

I started this business with virtually no money. I even had the first customer advance us cash so that I could buy paint and brushes.

This is a great example of how easy it can be to start your own business. I made profits from the very first painting job even with no experience.

A few years later I decided to start a book publishing company, Adams Media. Again, starting small was a given because I only had $1500 to invest and I was still a full time student. Like most of my other businesses I had no prior related experience.

I started Adams Media with $1,500 and

sold it for $40 million. 

My first book was a guide to local companies for job hunters called, The Boston Job Bank. Using all my low cost marketing ideas, I quickly turned this book into a #1 local bestseller.

I went on to publish many more books, growing Adams Media into one of the largest independent publishers in the US, before selling it for $40 million.

Once I was in your shoes, not sure what to do or how to get started.

But eventually through years of struggle, and trial and error, I discovered what worked in business and what did not work.

Fortunately you will not have to struggle through years of trial and error. That’s because on BusinessTown you can learn from myself and other experts what works in business and what doesn’t. We will give you the recipe for business success.

We will show you the same proven strategies that we have used to create one successful business after the next. You won’t have to guess what to do. You will be able to avoid the common and costly mistakes made by new entrepreneurs.

You don’t have to be a genius, a tech wizard or a business school graduate to succeed in business. You don’t need any business background at all. But success is going to come a lot easier if you first learn the important business fundamentals and keys to success. These are presented in the online courses at BusinessTown.

BusinessTown offers over 130 short courses for entrepreneurs. Our most popular courses include Start-a-Business 101, How to Create a Business Plan and How to Find a Business Idea. You can try BusinessTown for free.

Then like me, after you get your business up and running, you can enjoy the entrepreneurial lifestyle. It’s not just a wild crazy dream – you can do it. Here’s how my lifestyle changed since I’ve become an entrepreneur.

I control my own schedule. I get plenty of time for family, friends and doing the things that I like.

When I started out I lived in a small basement apartment. Well now I live in a 17 room classic brick manor home complete with a movie theater room, a complete gym, a home office, a wine cellar, my model train room, multiple garages, extensive gardens, a coy pond and a tennis court.

Being an entrepreneur means I work when and where I want including from one of my vacation homes on Cape Cod and the island of Nantucket. I also get to travel the world frequently and meet fascinating people.

Being my own boss means I have a lot of time to have fun and hang out with friends and family. I especially enjoyed being able to coach my kids in soccer in the middle of the afternoon during the week.

Everyone needs a hobby! I’m a little crazy about my model trains! They completely occupy one of the largest rooms in my house. I have 8 scale miles of track complete with scenery such as mountains, cities and harbors. I can operate up to 10 trains at once.

The best thing about being an entrepreneur is not the money, the big houses, the luxury cars or the fancy vacations. The best part is being able to do work that you truly love!

To actually get paid to do work that you really enjoy doing – it’s very cool! It’s also neat to be your own boss. To be in charge of your own destiny. To be the star of your own show!

I’m always learning new things. Being creative. And meeting interesting new people.

I love being an entrepreneur – and I think you will too!

I love my work! I’m always learning new things and meeting really interesting people.

To actually get paid to do work that you really enjoy doing – it’s very cool! It’s also neat to be your own boss. To be in charge of your own destiny. To be the star of your own show!

I’m always learning new things. Being creative. And meeting interesting new people.

I love being an entrepreneur – and I think you will too!

Businesses that I Started Myself

1. Online courses – BusinessTown
2. Book publishing – Adams Media*
3. Business software – Adams New Media*
4. Online job platform – CareerCity.com*
5. Magazine publishing – Careers Group*
6. Job fairs – Premier Job Fairs*
7. Job listing publication – JobBank*
8. House painting – College Painters
9. Tourist maps – Nantucket & Cape Cod Maps*
10. Classified advertiser – St. Paul Greensheet*
11. Bicycle rentals – Bob’s Rent-A-Bike
12. College newspaper -Spectrum
13. Used boat sales – Bobby’s Boat Yard
14. College directory – for Simmons College
15. Employment Agency
16. Rowboat building
17. Handyperson service

*Denotes businesses that I sold. Most of these businesses I started with less than $2,000 including Adams Media Corporation that I sold for $40 million. Many of these businesses I started from my home and part time.

To learn about the strategies I used to succeed in my businesses check out my courses including Start-a-Business 101, How to Create a Business Plan and How to Find a Business Idea. You can start streaming these courses and all the other courses on BusinessTown for free.

BusinessTown founder Bob Adams’s courses & books have been featured in:

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Frequently asked questions:

BusinessTown is an e-learning platform built for people interested in starting and running a business. 

On BusinessTown, you get unlimited access to 130+ business courses taught by real successful entrepreneurs and highly skilled experts. You also gain access to 50+ business tools and to our discussion board, where you can get expert answers to your business questions.

No matter what you want to learn or where you are on your business journey, there is a course for you. 

Marketing, ideas, financing, planning, naming, how to get started… BusinessTown covers everything you need to start and run your business right. 

The courses are available anywhere, anytime, on any device, and you can take them at your own pace. 

Create your BusinessTown account to get started and try BusinessTown free for 7 days. 

BusinessTown includes unlimited access to 130+ business courses taught by real successful entrepreneurs and highly skilled experts.

You also get full access to 50+ downloadable tools like worksheets, templates, and samples, and to our discussion board where you can get an answer to any business question you have. 

BusinessTown is $19.95 per month. It provides unlimited access to all 130+ courses, all tools, and our discussion board, where you can get expert answers to your business questions.

We offer a free 7-day trial. If you decide that BusinessTown is not for you, then just cancel within 7 days of starting your free trial and you will not be charged at all.

If you wish to cancel your BusinessTown account, you can do so through your account page under the Billing section. 

If you have any questions, email us at bbisson@businesstown.com. We are more than happy to help!

BusinessTown includes 130+ courses on all business topics: Getting started, business ideas, business plans, strategy, marketing, websites, social media, online advertising, finance, accounting, leadership, sales, legal issues, home-based businesses and more!

Looking for a business idea? Why don’t you check out our course How to Find a Business Idea. 

Do you need help creating your business plan? We’ve got you covered. Take a look at our course How to Create a Business Plan.

Do you want to be walked step by step through the entire process of starting a business? Check out our ultimate course, Start-a-Business 101. 

Are you not sure that you are ready to start your own business? Consider our course, What It Takes to Start a Business.

Are you looking for financing for a new or existing business? We offer 5 courses on financing a small business. We suggest you start with the course, How to Finance Your Business.

Do you want to learn about marketing? Because it’s so important, we offer over 30 courses on sales and marketing. Consider starting with the short course, Developing Your Marketing Message.

Want to learn about marketing online? We offer 5 courses on creating websites, 6 courses on digital marketing and 5 courses on promoting through social media. To get started we recommend the course, The Complete Guide to Digital Marketing.

Looking to get inspired and learn how other entrepreneurs succeeded in starting and growing their businesses? We offer several courses on this including, How to Succeed as a Woman Entrepreneur.

Do you already have a business and are looking to improve it? We have several courses on this topic. Try starting with the course, How to Boost Profits.

No matter where you are on your business journey, there is a course for you.   

On BusinessTown you have access to 50+ downloadable tools like worksheets, samples, and templates to help you start and run a business. 

Our most popular tools include:

The Ultimate Startup Checklist, 18 pages 

The 300 Best Small Business Ideas ebook, 105 pages 

The Complete Business Plan Template, 29 pages

Complete Sample Business Plan, 35 pages 

Sample Marketing Plan Under $2k, 12 pages

One Page Marketing Plan Template

One Page Sample Marketing Plan

50 Guerilla Marketing Tactics Worksheet, 8 pages

Business Idea Evaluation Worksheet 

8 Basic Steps to Making the Sale Template

Sales Presentations that Your Customers Will Love Template

Sales Presentation Sample Dialog

50 Ways to Generate Endless Sales Leads Worksheet 

Cold Calling Script Template and Sample

Emails that Land Sales Template and Sample

Voicemails that Get Callbacks Template and Sample

Income Statement Templates and Samples

Balance Sheet Templates and Samples

Cash Flow Templates and Samples

Calculate Depreciation Template

Key Financial Ratios Sample

How I Started a Successful Business with No Money and No Experience, Case Study

Key Questions to Select the Best Business Idea Worksheet

Validate Your Business Idea Worksheet

Using the 6-Step Approach to Choose a Business Idea Case Study

21 Easy-to-Start Part-Time Business Ideas Guide

42 Home-Based Businesses You Can Start Guide

Why I Repeatedly Changed the Legal Entity of My Business, Case Study

Evaluate Customer Segments and Competitors Worksheet

Differentiate Your Business from Competitors Worksheet

How I Differentiated My First Business in a Crowded Marketplace, Case Study

Creating a Press Release Template and Sample

Marketing Bob’s Rent-A-Bike, Case Study

Planning, Designing and Creating Your Website Worksheet

Search Engine Optimization Worksheet

50 Blog Post Ideas Worksheet

50 Creative Online Marketing Ideas Worksheet

Evaluate Potential Names for Your Business Worksheet

How I Financed Buying a Business Case Study

Cover Letter to Seek Financing Sample

Collection Letter Samples

The Four Quadrant Theory of Time Management Graphic

BusinessTown courses will show you how to start your business right and grow it into a highly successful enterprise. 

You will learn from highly experienced entrepreneurs and experts who have been there and done it. You won’t have to learn by trial and error. You won’t have to guess what to do next. BusinessTown courses will guide you through your entire business journey.

Even if you are a beginner you will quickly learn how to start a business you love. If you already have a business, BusinessTown will show how to grow it and make it better.

By just watching one video lesson a day (about 7 minutes average) you can quickly ramp up your business knowledge. No matter where you are on your business journey, there is a course for you taught by an expert on BusinessTown.

What would you like to learn more about today? Starting a business? How to find a business idea? How to write a business plan? How to do your marketing? How to build an online presence? How to get financing? How to prepare financial statements? BusinessTown has courses that cover all these topics and hundreds more.

So if you want to become a smarter entrepreneur and start and build a successful business, you’ll want to start streaming the courses on BusinessTown today.

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Unlimited access to all BusinessTown courses. 7 day free trial. Then $19.95/month. Cancel anytime.

Unlimited access. 7 day free trial. Then $19.95/mo. Cancel anytime.