Business Plans

Business Plan Links from SBDCNET   The Small Business Development Center National Information Clearinghouse (SBDCNET) links include general business plans as well as specific business plans.  Plans or guides are available for businesses such as Bed & Breakfast, Construction Firm, General Retail, Publishing, and more.

Essential Elements of a Good Business Plan    The United States Small Business Administration gives an extremely detailed outline of a business plan recommended for potential business owners to use as a model when developing a plan of their own.

Sample Business Plans from TSBDC    Tennessee Small Business Development Centers provide the small business developer with examples of business plans for particular businesses and show how other entrepreneurs have compiled their information. 

SCORE Templates for Your Business    Service Core of Retired Executives (SCORE) provides a gallery of business plans and financial and accounting statements.  SCORE is a national nonprofit association dedicated to helping entrepreneurs.

Sample Business Plan

Small Business Plan
by the
Tennessee Small Business Development Center

The following pages will provide the reader with an outline and an example of a business plan. This presentation is general in nature because a business plan is a personal statement that reflects individual goals. The reader should, however, be able to take this example and construct his own plan for use in developing the business.


  1. Cover or Title Sheet (optional)
  2. Table of Contents (optional)
  3. The Executive Summary
  4. The Company and the Industry
  5. Products and Services
  6. Marketing Plan
  7. Market Research and Analysis
  8. Proforma Financial Statements
  9. Time Schedule

  1. Cover or Title Sheet (optional)
  2. Table of Contents (optional)
  3. The Executive Summary:
    A brief summation of company goals, critical factors, products and services, markets and industry, management, financial position and projected performance.
  4. The Company and the Industry

    1. Describe the industry/business/market this firm will operate in.
      1. What is the "real" product this industry/business/firm offers?
      2. How does this firm fit into this industry?
      3. What are the particular advantages and disadvantages of this firm?
    2. Describe the business organization, ownership, and management team.
      1. Sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation?
      2. Who are the owners and what do they add to the firm?
      3. Who is running the business; what are their qualifications?
    3. Describe what the firm hopes to achieve by being in business.
      1. Use measurable objective criteria.
      2. Define personal, business, financial and social goals.
      3. Explain how the firm expects to achieve these goals.
  5. Products and Services

    1. Describe exactly what products/goods/service will be offered.
      1. How is the product unique/different/better than similar products?
      2. What kind of people/customers/clients will need/want this uniqueness?
      3. How will this product be produce/purchased/supplied?
    2. Describe briefly the substitutes (competition) for this product.
      1. Who, What, and Where are competitors for this product?
      2. How will this firm minimize any, advantages competitors have?
      3. How will this firm maximize any advantages this product has?
    3. Explain the relevant costs and selling price of this product.
      1. Why would people/customers/clients pay this price for this product?
      2. How does this price compare with competitive pricing?
      3. How does the firm justify the difference, if any?
    4. Describe the potential for this product or service.
      1. Potential for product/service market penetration?
      2. Potential for product/service in new market growth?
      3. Potential for product/service development and/or diversification?
  6. Marketing Plan

    1. Describe the general marketing philosophy and strategy of the firm.
      1. What kind of firms/customers/clients are the "target market" of this finn?
      2. How will the finn adapt products to meet the needs of this target market.
      3. What is included in the product; packaging service, and warranty?
    2. Describe the distribution method(s) to be used with these product(s)?
      1. Where are the potential customers for these particular product(s)?
      2. Where do these potential customers buy these particular product(s)?
      3. How will these product(s) be delivered to these particular customers?
    3. Describe pricing objective and strategy of the firm.
      1. What exactly is being sold? What is included? What is extra?
      2. Pricing policy; penetration or skimming? Introductory price? Discounts?
      3. Does this pricing policy 'fit" the target market the firm has selected?
      4. How does this pricing policy compare with competitive policies?
      5. Can the firm make a profit with these pricing policies?
    4. Describe anticipated promotional activities and results expected.
      1. What are product advantages that will attract the selected customers?
      2. How will the "target market" be informed of these product advantages?
      3. How will intermediate channel members be made aware of these advantages?
      4. How will competitors react to these promotional activities?
  7. Market Research and Analysis

    1. Identify and describe the firms selected target customers.
      1. Why do or why will these customers purchase the firm's product(s)?
      2. Who, What, Where, and When are the firm's present and past customers?
      3. Who, What, Where, and When are the firm's potential customers? Why?
    2. Identify and describe total and target market size and trends.
      1. What is the firm's current market? Identify size and trends.
      2. What is the firm's potential market? Identify size and trends.
      3. What are the industry, economic, social, population, and government factors involved?
    3. Identify and describe competitive market share and size.
      1. What are the strengths and weaknesses of competitive products/services?
      2. What are the strengths and weaknesses of competitive firms?
      3. How can the firm take advantage of these competitive shortcomings?
    4. Identify and estimate market share and size.
      1. How many of these customers can the firm reasonably expect to reach?
      2. How many of these customers have the time and money to purchase these products?
      3. How many sales can the finn reasonably expect to make to these customers?
      4. Identify major first year customers; How & Why?
      5. What supporting professional services will be required, if any?
  8. Proforma Financial Statements

    1. Identify and explain all costs of establishing this firm/product/project.
    2. Identify and explain all costs of operating this firm/product/project.
    3. Identify and explain the assets the owners of the firms can contribute.
    4. Identify and explain the capital needed from outside the firm.
    5. Identify and explain how this capital will generate funds for investors/lenders.
    6. Identify and explain security used to guarantee returns/payment.
    7. Identify lines of communication between the firm and investors/lenders.
  9. Time Schedule

    1. Place all details of the plan in a time sequence.
      1. Events on the near horizon are minutely detailed.
      2. Time, legal and regulatory requirements are listed.
      3. Specific dates and times are assigned to each event.
    2. Middle horizon events are planned with approximated dates.
    3. Far horizon or future events are estimated for planning purposes.
    4. Time schedule is constantly updated.