Looking for a Free Small Business Plan Template? Try These Resources

business planning - man with various pieces of paper on the floor

If you are looking for a small business plan template and some guidelines on how to use it, there are some excellent resources available.

(I posted about this in 2007: thought that after five years it was time for an update.)

The Importance of Business Planning

I’d love to be able to say I had a detailed plan when I started my own business years ago. But I didn’t.

It’s a bit embarrassing to say now but my recollection is that I put more time and energy into buying a computer, printer and so on, and getting my business cards designed and printed, than I did into systematic planning.

But it wasn’t long before I realized that if I wanted to have a successful, sustainable business I needed to do some planning.

And it couldn’t be too hard, could it? After all, before I went into business for myself I’d planned and implemented multi-million dollar projects.

But I soon realized planning a small, home based business was a different process, for which I was not really well-prepared.

I bought books

In those days, before our contemporary ability to find just about anything on the web, my default action when I needed to know something was that I would go and find some books, buy them, study and apply.

So I bought a couple of books on creating business plans.

That worked.

But not as well as I’d have liked.

What I realize now is that I was looking for a one-size-fits-all solution.

It doesn’t exist.

All our businesses are different in various ways.

We are all different.

And whatever process of business planning we use needs to reflect that.

Guidelines and templates can help

They can help us organize our thoughts and the ambitions and dreams we have for our business.

And help us to get real about what resources we have and need to achieve those ambitions and dreams.

There are some really good templates and related documents available – free

Here are some of the free small business planning resources, including templates, that I’ve found: first four are from government (your tax dollars at work!).

The US Small Business Administration ( SBA )

How to Write a Business Plan

Canada’s Atlantic Association of Community Business Development Corporations ( CBDC )

Online Business Plan

Australia’s business.gov.au – online business resources from Federal Government

Business Plan Guides and Templates

 UK’s Business Link – government online resource for businesses

Prepare a Business Plan

New England Business Service Inc. (NEBS) – commercial enterprise but the template below is free

NEBS business plan template

 This is a really straightforward template. But it is very important to note that, in order to save your data for later use, you must copy it and enter it into your own word processing program, or save your online data as an html document. Nothing you write online will be stored for you online for later access: if you fail to copy your data, you will lose it.


Found any other good resources for small business planning? If so, I hope you will share them here (no spam, please).

Image credit: Victor1588, Flickr – CC BY 2.0



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About Des Walsh

I show business owners and other professionals how to navigate the social media maze and use LinkedIn effectively. I'm an author, speaker, business coach, social media strategist and LinkedIn specialist. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Google Plus and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get my weekly Social Business Bites.


  1. Danyelle Franciosa says:

    Very well said and this is really great. I got some lots of information here and I learned as well. I never thought that templates are important in any business plan. Glad to know this and thanks a lot for sharing this.

  2. You have some really helpful information on this site.


  1. 7 Basic Mistakes in Starting a Home Based Business says:

    […] And I would use some of the excellent and freely available online resources I listed in my recent blog post, Looking for a Free Small Business Plan Template? Try These Resources. […]

  2. […] And I would use some of the excellent and freely available online resources I listed in my recent blog post, Looking for a Free Small Business Plan Template? Try These Resources. […]