Template for a Business Plan

How to Start a Business

Most experts emphasize 10 key components for a basic business plan template, with the executive summary – a concise overview of the entire plan - listed first. Key components include:

Key Components of a Business Plan Template:

  • Cover Sheet. Displays your firm’s name, address and telephone number, along with contact information for owners and executives. Other information includes the plan’s date, preparer's name and the document’s copy number.
  • Table of Contents. Lists section titles and page numbers.
  • Executive Summary. Addresses and summarizes your plan’s key points. These include a company overview (e.g. location, products and “unique” characteristics), market opportunity, financial projections, leadership, competitors and your firm’s market edge. Your company’s mission statement– brief but critical – goes into the executive summary, too.
  • Company Description. Explains the nature of your company; specifies consumers and organizations you will serve; and details the needs of your targeted demographic and how you will fulfill those needs. This section also addresses your firm’s competitive edge, for instance, service innovations that boost the value of your offerings.
  • Product/Service Description. Illustrates benefits unique to your product or service, competitive advantage and current/future development status. This section also addresses intellectual property issues, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and confidentiality and nondisclosure/non-compete agreements.
  • Market Analysis. Addresses market characteristics in a wide range of areas, among them, your industry’s history, trends and consumers; definition and characteristics of your target market; gross market targets and pricing; and regulatory affairs. A market analysis can also include a Competitive Analysis, which delineates your competitors’ weaknesses and strengths, barriers to forestall competitors’ entry into your market and potential product/service concerns.
  • Organization and Management Team. Describes your firm’s organizational structure, including administrative roles and responsibilities; education, professional background and achievements of company ownership; management team profiles; and board of director members’ bios. List your firm’s legal structure here (e.g. LLC), along with information on owner shares and forms of ownership, such as partnerships.
  • Operations. Details day-to-day functions of your company, as well as responsible personnel and process management systems. In this section, include current production/service goals and projections, quality control measures, supplier information, zoning requirements and risk management measures.
  • Financial Analysis. Covers financial history, as well as the status and future of the company. Make sure to provide a sales forecast, expenses budget, cash flow statement, profit and loss statements, income projections and a break-even analysis. Also address company assets and liabilities here.
  • Implementation Plan. Provides a timeline and methodology for completion of all tasks listed in the business plan. Components can include objectives, actions, target dates and progress records.

Resources & Support for a Business Plan Template

An abundance of business planning software is available on today’s market, with some programs costing less than $100. Designed to help strategize, sort and calculate related financial data, these products also generate high quality tables and charts with just a few keystrokes. Plenty of free information is available on the Internet as well, but choose this material wisely.

Agencies such as the Small Business Administration and SCORE, the Service Corp of Retired Executives provide detailed information on developing a solid business plan. Especially valuable are their “nuts-and-bolts” templates and tools.

The SBA has designed a Business Plan Tool, taking you through the writing process at your own pace. For a range of reliable business plan templates, visit SCORE’s template gallery, which covers start-ups, established businesses, financials, marketing and management strategies.

Financial institutions sometimes offer interactive templates as well, which provide detailed instructions as you write every step of your plan.

For one-on-one assistance, the Small Business Development Center, a nonprofit program providing management support to prospective and current small-firm owners, operates branch locations across the United States. The website provides a complete list of offices.

A Word about Mission Statements for Your Business Plan

The U.S. Small Business Administration describes a mission statement as a short declaration explaining the thrust of a business. Besides being integral to your business plan, a mission statement is a vital mechanism for informing consumers, clients, media and the general public of the company’s central philosophy, as well as for providing a succinct picture of your firm’s purpose, market and distinctive edge over competitors.

Since a mission statement is brief by nature, make sure to pack a lot of power into this handful of sentences. Here are some tips:

  • Invite staff, friends, family or colleagues to provide constructive input during the writing process.
  • Go for brevity. When roughing out the mission statement, strive to do this in three or four forceful sentences.
  • Use clear terminology to honestly state goals, objectives and your customer service philosophy.
  • Avoid exaggeration and embellishment.
  • Include underlying corporate values.
  • Strive for stylistic professionalism. If possible, seek help from prose-savvy associates – and proof, proof, proof.
  • Business goals and structures can change, so update your mission statement as the need arises.

Finally, this short paragraph represents your entire business identity and purpose, so it merits a high profile in your market. Display your mission statement on websites, brochures, annual reports and all other corporate literature.


Only deposit products are FDIC insured.

The information provided is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice or recommendations for any specific individual, business, or circumstance. TowneBank cannot guarantee that it is accurate, up to date, or appropriate for your situation. Financial calculators are provided for illustrative purposes only. You are encouraged to consult with a qualified attorney or financial advisor to understand how the law applies to your particular circumstances or for financial information specific to your personal or business situation.

small business banking

Small Business Banking

Banking, lending & payment processing services specifically for small businesses.

Looking to Start a Business? Let Our Bankers Help You With Your Business Banking Needs.

We use your zip code to match your request with a local banker in your area.

Small Business Banking FAQs

  • TowneBank provides lending, checking, and savings to small businesses. We also provide card processing services, wire transfers, same-day ACH, payroll, and remote deposit capture. If you're looking for a bank to help you start, grow, or build a business, a local banker can help to guide you through the best banking and lending options tailored to your industry. Learn more about our small business banking services here.
  • We pride ourselves on being a local partner to small businesses. No matter the size and demands of your business - from brand new to well-established - we have the financial services and know-how to help you succeed.
  • Yes! TowneBank offers SBA 504 loans* that are backed by the Small Business Administration.

    SBA 504 loans are a long-term, fixed-rate financing solution. Businesses that apply for an SBA 504 loan must meet some requirements such as:
    • Be a for-profit business operating in the United States Meet SBA small business size standards for your industry
    • Prove that your business cannot get similar financing elsewhere
    A 504 project generally has three main partners:
    • A Certified Development Company (CDC) that provides up to 40% of the financing (guaranteed by the SBA)
    • A third party lender that provides 50% of financing
    • A borrower who contributes at least 10% of financing
    If you have questions about an SBA loan, contact one of our local bankers who can help you get started.

    *Normal Credit approval criteria apply
  • Whether your business is small, large or somewhere in between, we offer checking options to meet your needs, with the benefit of a hometown banker to help you make the right choice. TowneBank's Business checking accounts offer:
    To compare features and fees for the Value Classic, Value Classic Plus, Value Solutions, and Value Select Business Checking Accounts visit the account comparison page of our website.

    Need a checking account for your non-profit?

    The Community Partner Program is designed to provide special discounts and benefits for the non-profit associations and organizations that help to strengthen our communities. Click here to learn about the benefits of Community Partner Checking.

    Ready to open a Business Account?

    We look forward to welcoming you to the Towne Family. To get started, simply find a location near you and stop by at your convenience Monday-Friday. Be sure to check the hours of operation for your location, as hours may vary. Click here for more information on opening a Business Savings/Checking account.

    *Your mobile carrier's web access and text messaging charges may apply
    **Subject to credit approval
    ^Only available for the Value Solutions Business Checking Account
  • Yes, personal guarantees are required from anyone who owns 20% or more of the borrowing business.
  • To apply, contact a local TowneBank banker who can help guide you through the application process. This will include completing SBA forms and collecting pertinent information about your business as well as helping you to outline the intended use of your funds.

    Find Your Banker Today
  • Businesses that apply for an SBA 504 loan must meet the following requirements:
    1. Be a for-profit business operating in the United States or its territories
    2. Meet SBA small business size standards for your industry
    3. Prove that your business cannot get similar financing elsewhere
    For more information, please contact a local banker.
  • Yes, our Merchant Services solutions allow your business to accept credit and debit cards from virtually anywhere and any time including mobile and online.
Back to Top