Every business plan should capture the unique characteristics of the business and the people who will run it. What sets your business apart from its competitors? While we have provided a list of the documents that should be included in a business plan, the presentation of the recommended information is, to a large extent, a matter of personal preference. In order to illustrate how business plans can vary from one another, consider reviewing the three sample plans included in the following case studies:
- Case study manufacturer's business plan: This sample plan looks at a high-end bicycle maker and explores the financing he'll require to meet an expected increase in demand for his custom-made bicycles.
- Case study service provider's business plan: This is the sample business plan of an individual who intends to go into business for himself as a computer software trainer. It illustrates his decision to leave the corporate environment and to work in a similar capacity as a self-employed entrepreneur.
- Case study retailer's business plan: This sample business plan relates to a hot dog vendor whose carts serve customers in a variety of downtown office buildings. The plan describes the financing that will be required to allow this entrepreneur to expand his network of movable carts into additional locations.
Note that the files available for download are not, and are not intended, to be used as templates into which your business's information can be cut and pasted. In order to make these samples available to the widest possible audience, the component elements of the plan are presented in the software application in which they were created. Thus, most of the text is presented in rich text file format, suitable for use with many Windows-compatible text editors. Spreadsheets and financial information are presented, in general, as Excel worksheets. The table of contents has been omitted, as have all graphics, such as company logos. These elements should be included in any business plan that you prepare. The intent here is to provide samples of how the component elements of a plan might look