These business planning resources are free for you to use in any ethical fashion you wish - please let me know if any were of use and also let me have your suggestions for more resources. Please note that these resources are offered 'as is' and we accept no responsibility whatsoever for any real or imagined liabilities incurred.
You need to be clear why you are writing a business plan. Keeping this purpose in the foreground of your thoughts will bring motivational and other benefits.
A simple reminder of WHY you are writing a business plan that is viewed often (perhaps stuck to the fridge or easily visible from where you brush your teeth) can make the difference in you finishing or drifting away from your business plan. Download the Business Plan Goal Reminder
You may have an idea for a new product or service - but do you find it changes each time you explain it to someone? To develop your brilliant concept you need to spend a bit of time 'fleshing out' exactly what it is (and isn't).
This worksheet poses the blindingly obvious questions that sometimes never get asked (and which are usually quite hard to answer) - as well as some less obvious ones which you also need to consider. The worksheet even lets you score you idea so you can compare it against others. Download Concept Outline
This document is a plan for your business plan. It may sound silly but a plan for your plan is just what most people writing a business plan could really do with.
One of the main reasons people get stuck on their business plan is because they start too early. A bit of preparation pays off.
If you are very clear about what exactly you want your business plan to do then you will find writing it much, much easier. This mini-plan document holds ten deceptively easy questions, which, once you have answered them, will be invaluable to you as you write your plan. Download Mini-Plan
This spreadsheet lets you play around with numbers while it calculaes your sales figures, total income and gross profit.
You can use this spreadsheet in the early stages of planning as a 'quick sketch' tool but remember to move on to something more realistic. DO NOT use this spreadsheet as the basis for any serious estimating!Download Sales Scenario Builder
A simple template of a cashflow forecast, with associated notes.
This spreadsheet allows for an opening balance, monthly income and payments. It calculates total monthly income and payments, opening balances, net cashflow and closing balances. It also totals up the rows and finishes off with an overall closing balance. Download Cashflow template
A simple template helping you to work out your gross and net profit figures.
This spreadsheet has cells ready for (up to five) product sales and cost of sales. It calculates monthly total income, total cost of sales and gross profit. It has seven rows available for expenses, and calculates monthly total expenses and net profit (and net profit percentages). It also totals up row figures. Download Profit & Loss template
This simple template of a balance sheet also has an associated worksheet to record your notes.
This spreadsheet allows the user to enter up to five fixed assets, four current assets, three current liabilities, and two long-term liabilities - from this it calculates the net assets (assets less liabilities) of the business. It also requires two more items, capital introduced and the balance of the profit and loss account - from this it calculates the members' funds. If they balance, happiness, if they don't balance the spreadsheet lets you know...Download Balance Sheet template
A simple template allowing you to record estimated real figures and to compare variances, with an associated workbook to record your notes.
This spreadsheet allows you to record estimated future figures as well as actual figures, and displays any variances.Download Budget template
A SWOT Analysis is incredibly useful - it stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats. The idea is that you use the four boxes to think about and write down your business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.
Once you have done this, think about how to build on existing Strengths, maximise on all Opportunities, overcome Weaknesses and minimise any potential Threats.
And from these ideas and plans, develop strategies to take your business forward (you can also use a SWOT Analysis to drill down and think about aspect of your business). View SWOT Analysis document
Note: all of the above either open as PDF documents or are downloaded as zip files containing Microsoft Excel or Word files.