Entrepreneurship: Business Plans

Where to Begin with a Business Plan?

If you want to understand the components of a Business Plans, the resources on this page will take you through the steps involved in writing a business plan,  prepare your pitch, and presenting ideas.

Once you’ve learned more about what should be included in a good business plan, use Company Research Guide to help you with specific sections of your plan. Additionally, it's helpful to conduct a SWOT analysis and market research; they can improve your pitch and help you grow your business in the right direction.

If you are creating a plan for a startup, consider using the Business Model Canvas rather than a traditional business plan.

SWOT Analysis

Business Source Complete, which has SWOT analysis from Datamonitor.
Click on the SWOT Analysis link on the bottom right of the screen.

Resources for Business Plans

  • Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC Entrepreneur's Toolkit) - Free web tools for business assessments, bench-marking, webinars, eBooks, publications templates and guides from the Business Development Bank of Canada. Includes business plan template

  • Business Plan Archive - A research database of sample business plans from the dot.com era (late 1990s to 2007). All interested users conducting academic, non-commercial research, must submit a research proposal describing the intended scope and purpose of their research. On completing the registration process, users are required to print their proposal and mail it to the Archive office at the University of Maryland, along with a letter of support from your host institution. Register via the Access the Archive link.

  • Business Plans and Profiles Index - Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - Find sample business plans by business type. Some are online while others are in books as cited in each entry.

  • Entrepreneur.com - This is an article to writing a business plan that outlines the most important parts and what should be included in an effective plan.

  • Example of a High-Tech Marketing Business Plan - Work through this sample high-tech business plan of a fictional company, "Acme Consulting," provided by the Canada Business Network.
  • Shopify's Ultimate Guide to Business Plans - Looking to write a business plan for your ecommerce store? This comprehensive guide walks you through the nuts and bolts of writing your very own business plan.

  • U.S. Small Business Administration: Starting & Managing a Business - Provides access to a wealth of resources, including articles on the essentials of writing a good business plan.

Alternative or Specialty Business Plans

  • Lean Canvas - Provides content and coaching for entrepreneurs, including a guide to help you communicate your business idea in one page.
  • The $100 Start Up - Provides downloadable guides that can help you quickly promote your idea, the site's "Resources" section includes a One-Page Business Plan and a 39-Step Product Launch Checklist.

  • The Right-Brain Business Plan - Create a visual map for the success of your business.

  • 10 Alternatives to the Formal Business Plan - Think outside the business plan with these ideas for alternatives to traditional plans.