There are various templates that you can find using a Google search. However, it is sometimes difficult for a founder with limited experience writing business plans to write a plan that is clear to outsiders - the founder is often too deep in the weeds.
The first thing you need to do is be clear on why you need a business plan. Is it for fundraising? Is it to decide what your company is all about? Is there some other reason?
I've written lots of business plans for my own startups and startups I've consulted with. Sometimes the right answer is that you don't need to write a business plan at all, but you just need some of the elements of the business plan, such as a revenue model or marketing strategy.
I've got a few business plan templates and would be happy to discuss them. It all starts with your current situation and your needs though.
I agree with John! Determine WHY you need a business plan. For "clarity" on what is a business and how to prioritize plans versus MVP products, read this article: http://bitly.com/BusinessFAQs.
If you're creating a business plan for funding purposes, versus a product launch, use this checklist: http://bit.ly/EPiCTools. In addition to learning the 7 Facets of Business Management and Ownership, you can use the checklist to create a SWOT and develop a business plan or marketing strategy.
My area of expertise includes more than 20 years of combined experience in marketing communications, business education and business management. If you need further clarity, have your people call mine!😆
Agree with the rest of answers here.
1. The purpose of any business plan is to serve as exercise for you to conceptualize, research and better understand your proposed venture. Once is done, it should serve as quick reference in the future if you are to come stranded or confused with possible paths in operations. There is no need to determine why you need it necessarily, because it has one purpose. If you are going to seek funding, investors want to see this because it shows how much you know.
2. A business plan is no good without a marketing plan. In some cases a marketing plan is all you need.
3. Don't include proformas unless you are required by someone like an investor. Most BP are almost outdated as soon as you finish them because most don't put real effort into a generalist operational business in industry plan, therefore is not a good idea to spend a lot of time in a plan with financials, made up projections, etc if there is no need.
4. Be realistic, even with investors if you trick yourself you're entering a world of huge challenging disappointments. So be real about opportunities, threats, strengths, resources...
Firstly assess what the goal is. Fundraising, building a business, crowdfunding...?
There will surely be strong overlaps, but the objective should be clear before embarking upon the exercise.
One thing I would do, that I so often see missing or haphazardly guessed, is assess the TAM (Total Addressable Market). Is this about capturing most of a small market, a piece of an existing large market, or (best!) expanding the market size (the classic definition of disruption).
Even if this is a relatively small passion project, take the time to do create the plan. It can be your bastion to herald yourself and others to, but it can also be something you can share to achieve coherent feedback from experts.
Templates can help a bit, but in reality some business models are best explained in their own ways, and business plans will contain the same headers but wildly different content from one industry to the next.
Talk to people about your business, when you've found the simple and repeatable ways to explain what it is, why it's compelling to some people, and how it could grow and be profitable, you have the building blocks for the business plan.