Business Plan Template

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What is a business plan template?

A business plan template is an editable business plan document that a prospective business owner must populate in order to develop their own business plan. In some instances, the template is pre-populated in an effort to assist the entrepreneur with the process, however the risks associated with this are numerous (we’ll deal with some of those later in this article).

Business plan templates should provide a standardised format and layout for a business plan and also provide the necessary information that is required in each section of a business plan. The template is put together to serve as your basic business plan that can be amended and adapted as your business grows, changes direction or hits unexpected snags. Ideally it needs to allow the business owner to make changes to their business plan without having to rewrite it – an unnecessary and time-consuming process.

Your business is unique. With this in mind, it is important to remember that your business plan should reflect that your business is, in fact, unique. Always ensure that you pick a business plan format that works for you. It must meet your specific business needs and this means that there is no right or wrong way. That said, there are obviously some do’s and some don’ts to remember when creating the plan for your business, most of which are covered in this article.

Don't be fooled by the myth that only start-up businesses need a business plan. Regardless of whether you plan to grow your company or maintain its current success level, a good, well thought out business plan will keep you grounded and on the trajectory you seek. It is important to remember that your business plan is a living document, so, make sure your business plan is an easy-to-use and easily understood template, allowing for the evolution of the business plan. That way you need never create this type of plan afresh, you can review your template and amend it accordingly. This will save you much needed time, time that could be put into getting new customers or another growth opportunity. The cliché, ‘time is money’, certainly rings true when it comes to your business.

Updating and referring to your plan on a regular basis can drive better decision-making. It can also help keep your focus clear. Clear focus is critical as the demands of growth, customers, staff and investors may threaten to cloud your company's vision.


Your business plan is the blueprint of your business’ success.


Learn and build your plan at the same time

Hola Business is an online training programme that provides the framework for you to write your business plan effectively and professionally. Its easy-to-use interface is designed to help you develop your complete business plan while learning some of the most important skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur. 

Get up to speed quickly with what you need to know in our 12-module online course, which will give you significant insight into the following:



Knowing Your Competition

Find out who they are & analyse their offering, location, target markets & disadvantages. This insight is key to understanding your target market.


Determining Market Size & Potential Customers

Establish the size of your market & identify potential customers. Aids in developing strategies to penetrate the market and hook customers.


Getting to grips with Strengths & Weaknesses

Get to grips with your strengths & weaknesses. This is achieved via a SWOT analysis and will help you position yourself against competitors.


Developing a Business Plan Overview

What is your business, who are your competitors and your customers, what are your strengths & weaknesses and what is the potential market size?


Defining Vision & Mission

Where do you want to be in 5 to 10 years? What products and services are you delivering, to whom and where?


Developing Your Scorecard

Present a clear snapshot of your business and its goals. Used for staff and outside agencies like banks, potential investors or partners.


Setting Business Goals

Be SMART: Goals must be Specific, Measurable & Achievable, as well as Realistic and achieved in a specified Time.


Doing Proper Financial Planning

Determine and populate your financial plan, including forecasts to avoid nasty surprises.


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Things you’ll learn from this article

  • The main purposes of a business plan
  • Why is a financial plan needed in my business plan template?
  • What should you include in a business plan template?
  • How do you write a business plan?
  • What is the best business plan template?
  • What should I include in my business plan template executive summary / overview?
  • Should I incorporate market analyses within the business plan template
  • Business plan template check list
  • Wrapping up

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What are the main purposes of a business plan?

A business plan has 2 primary purposes.

  • Firstly, it should be used to help run your company in line with a consistent vision. It becomes a roadmap (to success) by setting goals and actions for the perspectives that constitute most businesses: customers, growth, operations and finance. Implementing your business plan effectively should greatly improve your chances for success.

  • The second purpose is acquiring finance. A lender or investor will not finance or participate in your company unless you can prove your roadmap to success. You need to be able to provide a realistic forecast as to when creditors could, realistically, expect a return on investment.

A business plan can be described as the blueprint to explain how you will operate your business. While it is a necessary document used to secure funding, the plan is actually for your benefit. A good plan will provide a systematic guide when starting a new business or when expanding your existing company. Ideally, it should provide direction for every decision you make as your company moves forward.

Essentially, a business plan should fulfil a dual function: It should be both a management tool and a planning tool.

Management tool

A business plan as a management tool should provide financial projections and enhance the monitoring and control of the enterprise through analysing management indicators and results.

This information can also be used for a financial projections template.

Planning Tool

As a planning tool, a business plan is used to show that the company assumes responsibility for the definition of its objectives. It aids by including results orientated actions and planning for the fulfilment of the company’s economic commitment.

Additionally, as a tool, it helps orientate the decision-making process and provides both quantitative and qualitative information.


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The following tips can be implemented when considering your bus. plan template:

  • Get organised

    Putting your business idea into writing helps you clarify and simplify your thoughts. It also aids in organising any steps that must be taken in order to drive your business to success. Look at it as a jigsaw puzzle – there are numerous individual pieces that all need to fit together for your business to become profitable. Skipping important steps – even just one – may disrupt some or all of your efforts within your business further down the line. So, you will need to be very specific, even if the plan is only for you.

    You should use measurable milestones and tools that can track your performance expectations. When you have everything in writing, it is easier to see the bigger picture. This may aid you in identifying any potential challenges before you inadvertently make errors that could impact your business in one way or another.

  • Stay on track

    To maintain a long-range view of your business while making daily decisions, referring back to your business plan intermittently will help. Doing this makes it easier to keep track of each business development step, which means you won’t miss important elements.

    A well-written business plan template provides a starting point and a skeleton timetable that will help drive your business activities. It will keep you grounded and help you focus on your target market.

  • Clarify and focus your goals

    A business plan is a fantastic aid in defining your goals as well as the steps required to reach these goals.

    A business plan should spell out your purpose and vision, as well as defining your goals and the steps needed to reach them. Clearly focused goals in your business plan also serve to explain objectives to interested parties like investors, partners, creditors, etc.

    This plan should state the amount of capital you need and from where the investment will be sourced. It will clarify the repayment means and timeline, and include Income Statement, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow forecasts.

  • Prepare for the Future

    The information described above – outlining your goals and the strategy of reaching them – will help you prepare for the future. The market research contained in your business plan template should include any projections that are based on consumer needs, as well as your ability to fulfil them.

    A well-developed business plan should include scenarios that identify potential obstacles so the company is prepared to make operational decisions in line with the overall business strategy. Nothing is cast in stone, and potential obstacles may well include possible market changes.

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Why is a financial plan needed in my business plan template?

The purpose of a financial plan in your business plan template is to help you evaluate the profitability and economic feasibility of the business. That sounds complex but isn’t really, what it effectively means is that you need to look at the goals and actions of the business plan in terms of their financial outcome. 

This then helps the entrepreneur to analyse how the decisions he or she makes will impact the financial position of the business. The elements contained in the financial plan template will typically include:

  • Income projections
  • Expenditure projections
  • An Income Statement forecast
  • A Balance Sheet forecast
  • A Cash Flow forecast


Income Projection

Before drawing up the Income Statement forecast, it’s useful to project the income and expenditure according to the goals and actions in the business plan template.

Income projections should be done for each product line if you have more than one, and for each income generating item, use as many different variables that will affect your income as possible to get realistic projections. Examples of these can include: competition, market size, growth of the potential market, sales volume and market share, etc.

Expenditure Projection

The expenditure projection looks at the flow of resources (mainly money) used when acquiring the product or service supplied by the company.

When projecting expenses, try to get as much information as possible about the kinds of expenses the business will incur. Each item should be looked at and captured independently onto the financial plan template. Special attention should also be given to the potential future increases in expense item, as these can cause nasty surprises if not identified in the planning stages.

Income Statement forecast

The basis for evaluating the economic potential of the business comes from the Income Statement forecast, which enables business owners and potential investors to assess the expected performance of the business in terms of income, gross profit, expenses and of course the all-important variable net profit.

Ideally, the Income Statement forecast should comprise of monthly data for the current year and annualised forecasts for the following 2 years.

Balance Sheet forecast

The Balance Sheet forecast is designed to reflect the net worth of your company, comprising the elements of Assets, Liabilities and Shareholder’s Equity.

The Balance Sheet forecast is compiled by making a list of all the expected assets, liabilities, and equity of your business after the end of the first year. 

You may need to consider things like short-term and long-term financing of the company, and certain information will come from the other forecasts that make up the financial plan, such as the expected cash position from the Cash Flow forecast.

Cash Flow forecast

Cash flow measures exactly that: the inflows and outflows of actual cash through the business within a specified time. Cash flow projections help the entrepreneur to determine whether they have sufficient cash for the operations of the business or if more is required. 

Cash flow differs from the Income Statement in that it is only concerned with when cash is coming in and when it is going out. This is vitally important from a planning point of view as it helps to assess the business’ ability to meet its obligations, as well as to identify the funding gaps that may exist.


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What should you include in a business plan template?

While your specific plan is unique, most consultants and business schools agree, that there is fairly standard, but vital, information that should be included in most of these plans. Whilst it may seem to be a good idea to have a comprehensive template covering every single microscopic aspect or detail, these kinds of plans become unwieldy and more importantly unlikely to be implemented. Hola Business’ planning methodology looks to provide your entire, implementable business plan template in a few concise pages. Let’s look at what can be included to suit the necessary requirements for the next step of your business.

Suggested information to include in your business plan

Business Overview | Goals and Actions | Financial Plan

Business Overview

This refers to providing more detail about the problem that your business is solving. You can explain what it is that your customers need and why you think your business is the one they may want to purchase from. This involves describing, succinctly, the problem that is worth solving and then moving on to the solution. You can go into detail about what sets your company apart from you current or potential competition. Describe your business’ unique or special qualities as well.

This area in the business plan template also provides the opportunity for you to speak about your target market and your competition in a little more detail.

When discussing your target market, include the market size and segments. Describe who your key customers are and what their attributes are. If you target market includes various segments – or multiple customer groups – then also describe each group. Include the number of potential people or customers in each segment and also combine them so you can give an idea of the actual size of the total target market.

When you describe your competition, it is important to include the alternatives to your solution. In other words, what are the products and / or services that your potential customers are using? Then move on to describe your businesses advantages or – more specifically – why your service or product is better than theirs as well as any competitive advantages you may have. This could include unique components to your business, or a patented product that could significantly boost your market share.


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Goals and Actions

Executing your business plan template is going to depend heavily on your ability to set realistic, attainable goals, that can be translated into clearly defined actions. The business plan template should consist of objectives around customers, growth, operations and finance, as well as contain information around the measurement of milestones.

  • Customers: Selling is one of the primary objectives of your business, which is boosted with marketing. So, generally, marketing your product / service and business is a part of the sales process and is included in your variable costs in your expense budget. It is about the way you plan to inform the market that you have the solution to their requirement. The customer section needs to contain relevant information around the gaining of new customers and how you plan to satisfy existing customers.

    Remember that advertising is only one form of spreading the word. You may have unique ideas which you can include. After all, this document is for you and parties interested in helping your business, so don’t be afraid to share your marketing ideas within the appropriate sections of your business plan.
  • Growth: Identifying how and where the business is expected to grow is important for the long-term success of any business. This area of the business plan template needs to establish what the business must do in order to acquire the know-how required for its development. 

    Value plays an important role in the growth of a business, so you would also want to look at where it can change and grow in order to expand the value that it offers to its customers. This may take the form of new products and services, but also or looking into new geographical locations into which to expand.
  • Operations: Processes, systems and technology you are using as well as the equipment and tools make up the operations goals in your business plan.

    The goals and actions set up around this area of the business plan template look fundamentally at how the systems and processes of the business as well as the technology employed in the business can best be used to return value, not only to the business, but to its customers as well.
  • Finance: This section should look towards outlining the financial aspirations of the business and needs to include high-level objectives around the achievement of financial performance. This provides the blueprint then for how financial performance will also be tracked and measured in the business.

    These objectives then form an integral part of the development of the financial plan template, as they will guide the forecasting process of building the financial plan.
  • Actions: In this section you should list your milestones in the form of action plans, especially aimed at the achievement of the goals listed previously. Actions are however insufficient on their own and must be accompanied with the dates you aim to accomplish them. A target without a date is meaningless.

    Included in your action plans should be actions that the business has already achieved. This is seen as proof that your new business is gaining traction, as well as providing you with a record of achievement. Doing this translates as evidence that your business, products and services are getting enthusiastic attention from customers and potential customers.

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Financial Plan

Your financial plan is the final piece of the business plan template puzzle and should consists of forecasts and notes explaining the rationale behind them. (Remember that with Hola Business, your financial plan is automatically completed as you complete the 12-module online course.)

When compiling your forecasts your key assumptions will be a description of the way you came up with the values in your financial forecast. Some things to take into account here would be:

  •  are your revenues projected by past results? 
  • did you conduct market research or is it guess work based on past experience? 
  • What are your monthly expenses and how much profit do you think will be generated over the same period? Your monthly expenses will depict your projected expenses (expenses you expect over the coming year).

You will also need to identify and describe the use of your funds and the sources from which you get funding. The use of funds in your forecast includes financing such as investments loans or any other method. It is important that you elaborate on what it is that you are going to do with the financing that you receive.

It is important that you accurately describe your financing plans in this section. Is it your own money that you will be investing, what type of credit will you use – a line of credit or a credit card? Will you make use of personal loans or business loans, and when do you expect to receive the funding?

For new enterprises, as yours may be, you may not have the full financing details yet, which is perfectly understandable. What you then need to do is to explain what you know and provide a timeline as to when the details will be sorted out, and how.

Forecast Statements: All the information collected then needs to be populated into the financial plan template in the form of projected financial statements. These should include:

  • Projected Income Statement: This includes your revenue, costs of sales, gross profit and expenses, which will allow you to provide your expected net profit.
  • Projected Balance Sheet: In this part of your statement, you include items of cash, accounts receivable, inventory and other current assets, as well as your long-term assets and the accumulated depreciation. You will need to include all information pertaining to your total assets and total current liabilities, the owners’ total equity with the final projection consisting of the total liabilities and equity.
  • Projected Cash Flow statement: In this section, you need to include the net cash flow from your business operations, culminating in the amount of cash at the end of the period.


Your business plan will be ready to present to potential investors upon course completion.


Business Plan Templates and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you write a business plan?

There’s no hard and fast rule on how to go about writing a business plan, but most plans should contain some information about your product, customers, competitors, operations, financial estimates and your plans for the future. As you look to grow your business, you should refer to your business plan. When you decide to make changes to your business, those changes should be reflected in your business plan. When you make updates to your business plan, you get to see how your proposed changes will affect your entire business. Working with Hola Business when starting your new business will guide you through what most people find to be a daunting process, using a simple to understand (let’s avoid business school jargon shall we!), easy-to-use training methodology that allows you to capture your plan as you learn. 

Your business plan should remind you of the reasons that you started your business. It is important that you remember your original goals and understand how any business changes may affect your original vision.

  • Read everything you can about your industry and talk to your audience so that you know everything about the industry that you are entering. Research and analyse your product, your market and your objective expertise. Consider spending twice as much time researching, evaluating and thinking as you spend actually writing the business plan.

    This may seem like a lot of unnecessary work at first, but always bear in mind that a great business idea is to learn from the professionals. If it has worked for them and for others then there is a good reason, so spend a lot of time researching. Research, research, research and research some more.
  • Let your research establish exactly what the purpose of your plan should be. It should also be a guideline which provides business direction. This allows a business to plan its future and helps it avoid most bumps in the road.

    Investors and creditors need facts. So, if part of your plan is to increase sales in a specific product, for example, you will need to state from where the new business will come, and be specific. Having a strategy to raise prices without the possibility of hurting current sales levels appears to be a great way to increase revenue. However, you need to be 100% certain in your market analysis or it could backfire. It may even be detrimental to your business if you haven’t been extremely careful in your analysis, and are certain that you current customer base will not shrink.

    Once you have been in business for some time and have real market feedback on your product, you may find it necessary to refine your offering or your product offering.

  • Adaptability is also key to any business, and your business plan must be adaptable too. You should be able to adapt it as your business evolves, but importantly you must be able to adapt the plan to your specific target audience.

    Different groups of people have different interests. So, if your target market is segmented, you need to try ensure that your plan can be adapted to reflect those interests. If you don’t know what those interests are, it probably means you haven’t adequately researched your target market. The solution... return to the first step in this answer – research, research and research some more.

    Adaptability also refers to the template for your business plan. Remember, this is more of a working document than an actual template. The ‘template’ is specific to your business, and must always reflect the most recent changes, whatever they may be.

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What is the best business plan template?

The best type of template for your business plan is one that is specifically suited to and tailored for your own business. After doing the course from Hola Business, that is exactly what your business plan will have achieved.

It is important to remember that a business plan template for a small start-up business and a business plan template for corporate may vary. Equally, there are often different templates that look to cater for specific business type such as for commercial vs. industrial vs. retail. The type of template can also depend on whether your business offers products or a service. While all of these factors influence the content of the business plan you need to generate, industry specific business plan templates often add levels of complexity to them that aren’t generally required for a start-up business plan template.

Hola Business provides the solution for you. As part of its online process, your business plan and therefore business plan template is generated as you complete the course. Because you are doing this based on your specific business, product and service as well as target market, it is the most direct route to developing your business plan, and the template to which you will refer.

Although we have mentioned this above, albeit in different wording, your business plan should include:

  • Your business concept. Tell everyone what you are about, why are you in business, what is your company all about and what methods will you employ to drive success.
  • Your products or service. Briefly explain the factors that make your company special. What is your competition differentiator (i.e. what makes your company different to your competitor companies? Importantly, use this part to describe the challenges that your service or product solve.
  • Your primary or central strategy. How are you going to accomplish what it is that you are going to do as explained in the above point? Have you decided on actionable goals and, if so, what are they? Do you know which personnel will be involved? What is your marketing strategy and who are you targeting? 
  • Financial information. Every business requires funds. It is, therefore important, to incorporate the costs, both current costs and anticipated costs. Details of the costings to include have been covered in ‘Financial Plan’ above, which falls in the ‘suggested information to include’.


Conducting an online search for a business plan template yields numerous results. Some of them include: business plan template pdf, simple business plan template and small business plan template. As previously mentioned, spend a lot of time establishing which is the correct one for your business, and bear in mind that template does not mean copy it as it is. Use the templates provided by all means, just be sure that you always remember that no template can be as unique as your own, which is tailored specifically for your business and the industry in which it falls, as well as to the markets to which you are targeting. This is the reason you should make an investment with Hola Business. All of this is done for you! At the end of the course, you will have a detailed business plan you can turn into your business plan template – and easily update it regularly.

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What should I include in my business plan template executive summary / overview?

  • The Vision and Mission statements: It could be a word or 2 only, 2 sentences or a paragraph, but it must clarify the thrust of your business. It needs to leave readers with a clear picture of what your business is all about.

  • Business description: It doesn’t matter if your business is brand new or been around for several years, this is an important part of your executive summary.

  • List of major competitors: Regardless of how many or how few you may have, showing an understanding of the competitive environment is a must for any business plan.

  • Relative strengths and weaknesses of your product: This is just a highlight of the differentiated nature of the product or service that you offer, but be careful not to go into too much detail, as that will come later in the business plan. 

  • Market size and potential customers: Again, the key is not the detail about your market and potential customers - those details come later in the business plan. Rather provide an overall picture of the market and a list of the potential customers. 

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Should I incorporate market analyses within the business plan template?

While a market analyses forms part of your plan, people sometimes ask if it is necessary to include this information into your actual template.

The answer is yes, and is usually derived from a SWOT analysis.

  • Importantly, an investor or lender interested in getting involved in your business from a financial point of view will need to have an understanding of your target market. They will need to know that you are targeting the correct market, if that market can afford your service or product, the age and other demographics, etc. Essentially, those interested parties should know everything there is to know about your target market in as few words as possible.

  • Your target market may shift as your business grows or changes, and you will always need to refer back to the original markets for a variety of reasons. Having this information in a template means it is exactly where you need it, when you need it.


All successful entrepreneurs plan and research strategies and prepare the business before committing themselves to the chosen course of action. Part of this is conducting a market analysis.

So, what kind of information, typically, should be included in your template for your business plan when incorporating your market analysis?

  • Who your potential customers are
  • What their shopping and buying habits are
  • The size of your target market
  • The amount of money your potential customers are willing to pay
  • Who your competitors are
  • What your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses are


Regardless if you are starting a venture, introducing a new product, or growing your small business, properly done market research can help take you to the next level.

Follow these steps when conducting a market analysis for your business:

  1. Determine the purpose of your study
    Your analysis is a critical part of your small business plan. It shows lenders and other interested financial parties that you know your industry well and that your business has growth potential.

    Before you begin, determine whether your analysis is for internal or external use. Internally will include improving cash flow or business operations, for example. Externally will include trying to convince financial institutions to give you a business loan or for investors to invest in your business.

    There are various reasons to conduct market research. These include assessing business risks, reducing issues, or creating opportunities among your target market/s. You should look at previous challenges to decrease future risks and analyse previous successes to ascertain what you need to do in the future.

    Make sure you decide whether your study will be external, internal or both before starting your research. The reason is that if it is for internal purposes, you more than likely will not have to collect as much information and statistics as you would with one for external purposes.

  2. Look at your industry’s outlook
    Outline the state of your industry at the current time. Using metrics like size, projected growth and trends, for example, is necessary. But you must also ensure that you have all necessary data to back up your claims.

    This will allow investors or lenders see that you’ve conducted comprehensive research on your business’s industry. It will also give them an idea as to whether or not your industry is worth them investing their time and money.

  3. Pinpoint target customers
    By analysing your market, you determine who your potential customers are. Not every person will be your customer, but you expect that, don’t you? Pinpointing your target customers is called target market analysis.

    You need to understand everything about your customers. Who they are and where they come from, what do they do and how old they are. Your research should paint a clear picture of your potential customers and include:

    • Age
    • Income
    • Gender
    • Location
    • Occupation
    • Education level
    • Marital / family status


    Once you have narrowed down exactly who your customers are, it is time to discover their demographics, needs, interests and personalities. Experts suggest you consider creating customer personas based on your research.

    Many businesses have multiple customer personas. Once you’ve identified your different customers’ characteristics, then build personas to represent each typical customer. Pinpointing your target market in this way can help you cater to future customers better, and to market your service or product much more efficiently.

    Revisit your target market from time to time to see if they are still a fit for your business. As your business grows, your potential customers may evolve or change.

  4. Compare your competition
    Understanding your competition and knowing who they are targeting are necessary to further analyse your target market. Find out what other businesses are in the same space and research them properly. Remember to analyse aspects such as their offering, location target markets and any disadvantages that you can see.

    Once this is complete, narrow it down to a list of your key competitors and, one by one determine their strengths and weaknesses.

    • What does their business have that yours doesn’t?
    • Why would a customer pick one of their businesses over yours?
    • Do the competitors pose any threat to your business?


    We suggest you use the well-known SWOT analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). Using this method will help you in determining your own business’ advantages and marketing position.

    With Hola Business, your business plan is automatically generated as you complete each business exercise.

  5. Gather additional data
    The more information you gather, the better off your business will be. When it comes to conducting a market analysis, information really is your greatest ally.

    It is important that the data you use is unbiased, relevant, and factual. This is necessary for you to: a) back up your research; and b) make decisions that are based on accurate information.

    Remember to use credible sources to gather your information. There are numerous resources you can call upon using the internet to find all sorts of information. The Department of Trade and Industry (dti) could be one; SA Statistics may be another. Depending on the type of information you require, there is always a source. In fact, you could analyse your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses, conduct target market surveys or run focus groups with your target market. Additionally, there are a number of trade journals in every industry. These, too, can be used as a source for some interesting market statistics.

  6. Analyse your findings
    Once you have finished analysing the market, it’s time to study your findings. A good idea is to organise your research into different sections. Ideally, there should be 3 sections. One for your business purpose, another for the target market and a third for the competition.

    A few suggestions to include in your findings:

    • Your industry’s size and growth rate (an overview)
    • Your projected percentage of market share
    • Results of your other analyses
    • Your outlook for the industry
    • Buying trends
    • How much customers are prepared to pay
    • The various prices of your different offerings
    • Possible discounts you plan on offering
    • Your cash flow projection
    • Your business’s forecasted growth


    Based on your research, things like your cash flow cycle, gross margin and customers’ buying habits and other things for your business can be forecast with a degree of accuracy.

  7. Put your analysis into action
    Put your analysis into action rather than letting all of that good research go to waste.

    • If the research was for internal purposes, consider how you can use the for business improvement. Use your analysis to try create efficiency in your business processes.
    • If the research was conducted for external purposes, this must be used to speak with lenders and investors about your research and conclusions.

    Remember to include a summary of this in your business plan template. This will be a quick reminder to you about the priority points, and you can revisit your in-depth market analysis every now and then.

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Business plan template check list

Does your business plan template include all of the important elements of an ideal business plan template? Any decent business plan template,should at it's minimum, contain information around: finances, scope of operations, customers and competition.

  • Financial Plan: Prepared for banks, other lending institutions and investors, the financial outline of your business or new venture is, possibly, the most important part of your business plan. It will outline start-up costs, estimated business expenditure for the first several months, as well as the amount of external financing gained from potential sales. This forecast is generally based on the prevailing economic conditions, as well as the research undertaken into the business' target market.

  • Scope of operations: This is where the outline of the business is succinctly outlined in terms of what it is, what it plans to do, and how it plans to do it. Elements around the growth of the business, acquisition of knowldedge as well as the use of technology and process improvement should be explored in this section. Total market size, the previous years’ annual growth rate and market segments are useful indicators in this portion of your plan. Whether you will sell goods or services in local, regional, domestic or international markets should also be included as each of them will have specific and distinct characteristics relating to current size and growth.

  • Customers: The customers are your target market, the better defined your target market is, the better you will be able to plan. A good suggestion is to include information on the current demand for certain goods or services. This information can be tailored to your business operations to specific consumers. If your company is going to operate in different markets, a customer analysis might be necessary for each market.

  • Competition: In this section, the business owner will describe their competitive advantage and how they created it. Also, it should include how this competitive advantage can help achieve sufficient market share and ultimately a profit in this specific market place. It can also include regulations and potential changes to the environment that may affect the company.


Wrapping up

You should now have a better understanding of a business plan and its template, target markets, financial plans, markets, competitors, mission and vision statements and a whole lot more. It should have given you the ability to generate your own business plan template or, at the very least, an understanding of what should be done.

Understand the risks of a using a free business plan template?

Are you looking for a free business plan or free business plan template that you complete without having undertaken all the required research? An accurate and future-orientated business plan depends on the potential entrepreneur’s ability to populate a business plan template competently and accurately.

Have you considered how complicated a legitimate and appropriate business plan really is? Do you honestly know how to complete a business plan template accurately, and in a manner that is truly in the best interest of your company? Will it adequately plan for your business launch and subsequent expansion? Have you even considered the pitfalls – current and future – of an inadequate business plan?

Opting for a free business plan template to save yourself a little bit of cash outlay in the early stage of your business may seem appealing, but you run the risk of getting the basics incorrect. If the basics are incorrect, your business' potential longevity may be at risk. Another option is to opt for professional guidance from the ideal business authority. The choice is yours. We believe that spending a little bit up of cash front could potentially save you thousands, if not hundreds of thousands in the future.

Hola Business is the business starter authority in South Africa. South African business trainers and experts have tailored this course for South African entrepreneurs and business start-ups.


Joining with Hola Business will help you accurately define your business, which will make a lot of difference as to how you plan for your business.

For just R1 499, your subscription to Hola Business will help you learn exactly what you need to know to make your business successful. It helps you build your own business plan and financial plan as you learn.


12 interactive modules to get your business going

Get to understand the fundamentals of running a business. We’ll help you bring your business to life while solving some practical challenges in running a business. When complete you'll be prepared for the real world of business.

All of this will help you work through a unique Hola Business case study and compare it with your business model. Our training method allows you to develop your business plan as you learn.

Personal Goals

Personal Goals

When managing a business, you should put some focus onto yourself. Central to this will be the development of a Wheel of Life, as well as the setting of some personal goals, and action plans to achieve those goals.

Cycles of your business

Cycles of Your Business

Pre-start-up, development and growth phases. Learn about the early cycles of business, the challenges you’ll face in your business journey and how you can be prepared for the changes the business will go through.

From Idea to Plan

From Idea to Plan

Take that business idea and interrogate it a little more. This module will create the overview of your business plan by defining your business, your market and competitors, as well as doing a SWOT analysis

Business Planning

Business Planning

Develop your Vision, Mission, SMART goals and action plans as you formulate your own Business Plan using a Balanced Scorecard, through an easy to understand step by step process of creating these key planning documents.

Introduction to Finance

Intro to Financial Planning

A quick introduction to the importance of financial forecasting, introducing the three key documents that will make up the Financial Plan.

Understanding Costs

Understanding Costs

Gain a detailed understanding of the costs of starting and operating your business, your day-to-day costs, and how they impact on the business.

Pricing for profit

Pricing for Profit

A straightforward guide to setting prices, incorporating pricing strategy, costing principles, breakeven points & guidelines to profitable pricing.

Financial scorecard

Financial Scorecard

Gaining a clear understanding of the financial scorecards of the business are critical to the long-term health of your business. Be guided through the forecasting process, culminating in the development of your Income Statement forecast.

Managing working capital

Managing Working Capital

Learn how to manage your working capital, and understand the flow of money through your business. Be guided through the development of your own Cash Flow and Balance Sheet forecasts, completing your Financial Plan.

Setting up your business

Setting up Your Business

All a start-up needs to know about tax, compliance and admin. Take the frustration out of searching the internet to find out what you need to know about in setting up your business.

Getting finance

Getting Finance

Explore the ways you can look to get financing for your business. Examine both traditional and alternative funding options available to you, and what you need to know.

Marketing for startups

Marketing for Start-Ups

Understand business-appropriate marketing fundamentals and identify the ideal marketing channels for successful promoting of your business to your target audience. 


Got a great business idea? Take the next step – sign up to Hola Business today.