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Free Online Business Planner

Page Contents

  1. Introducing the Business Planner

  2. How to Use the Planner

  3. Business Planning Form

  4. Using the Outline Plan


1. Introducing the Business Planner

This free Business Planner will help new and established businesses of all sizes to create an Outline Business Plan. It can also be used to prepare a "first-cut" draft plan for finalization offline in another system, or as a "dry run" to help identify gaps in preparatory work and planning logic before embarking on a more detailed plan (e.g. using Free-Plan or Exl-Plan).

Your completed Outline Plan will run to 5 or 6 printed pages. To view a specimen outline plan, look at this Sample Output (opens in a new window).

Once your plan has been completed and saved, you will be able to:

    • print copies of your Outline Plan "as is" or paste its text into Microsoft Word (or similar) for further development

    • use its content as the basis for a 10-12 slide presentation

    • upload the compiled Outline Plan to a web site or distribute it as an email attachment.
 
 
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If you'd prefer to work entirely off-line or prepare a more comprehensive plan, the options include:

  • Download Free-Plan, our free 150-page business plan guide and Word-based template. It uses the same basic structure as the Online Planner but gives you the option to plan in much greater detail.
  • For help with generating financial projections for a business plan, see Exl-Plan, a comprehensive range of Excel-based templates available to download as freeware and try-before-you-buy software.
  • Plan Write Business Planner, a comprehensive software package for preparing a business plan including outliner, text, financials and graphics.
  • Plan Write Expert Business Planner, similar to the Business Planner with the addition of an "expert system" for assessing and developing a business idea.

Note: The content of your plan is strictly confidential and not disclosed to us. In theory, it could be observed by a third party during the compilation process, as might be the case for virtually every text-based transmission. In practice, this is extremely unlikely to happen.

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2. How to Use the Planner

To create an Outline Plan, proceed as follows:

  1. Enter text as guided for all relevant sections in the form below.

    Cover of Plan
    1. Introduction & Contact Details
    2. Strategic Plan
    3. Background & Status
    4. Offerings
    5. Target Markets
    6. Marketing & Sales Plans
    7. Technology & R&D Plans *
    8. Management & Operations
    9. Financials
    10. Funding *
    11. Implementation
    12. Conclusion
    * Headings can be changed by user.
     
  2. At any stage, press a Compile Plan button to see your compiled Outline Plan. To continue drafting, use your browser's back arrow to get back to your place within the form.

  3. When finished, you can use the compiled material in several ways as explained in Using the Outline Plan below.

That's it !!!! Get a cup of coffee, take the phone off the hook, get thinking and start planning. Allow yourself reasonable time to complete the job.

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3. Business Planning Form

Whenever you press the Compile Plan button, you will be sent to a separate newly-compiled page containing your plan. To continue drafting at this page, use your browser's back arrow.

VERY IMPORTANT: Your inputs to the form below and the resultant plan will reside in your PC's memory and online. Consequently, if you close (or refresh) this page before completing the form and saving the compiled plan, you'll lose all your work!

Tip # 1: When you see your plan after pressing the Compile Plan button, we recommend you periodically copy and paste the Outline Plan into a text editor such as Notepad. You can keep overwriting previous pastes so you only retain the latest version. This may seem a pain in the *** but it will ensure that your compiled plan is safe even if a problem arises.

Tip # 2: You can go off-line and continue working on your plan (provided you do not close this page). When your plan has been finalized, press the Compile Plan button to get back online and to see/print your compiled plan. If you work on your plan off-line, you must finish the entire plan off-line. Once you go back online, you'll be able to see/print your plan but you will not be able to edit it online.



  Cover of Plan This is the cover page of Outline Plan.
< Enter full name of business. This will appear in UPPER case in the Outline Plan.
< Enter short name of business. For example, if full name is Anyway Industrial Appliances Inc. then the short name might be either AIA or Anyway.

Enter details as indicated. Press the Compile Plan button below to check that the system works OK - you will be sent to a new page containing the bare bones structure of your plan with your business names embedded.

To continue drafting, use your browser's back arrow to get back to this form. Press the Compile button at any stage during drafting see your updated compilation.


  1. Introduction & Contact Details Use this section to orientate the reader and provide contact details.
Introduce the business in extremely basic terms (e.g. products and customers/ markets) and add a simple "hook" to grab attention. Use a maximum of about 15 words. Xxx supplies xxx (offerings) to xxx customers within the xxx market. We offer an unique recipe/ technology/ design/ functionality.
Explain precisely why you are preparing an outline plan. Be clear and specific: don't simply say "To introduce our business (or raise money)". We need to ...
... raise $xxx,000 in equity to complete initial R&D and launch in xxx markets.
... secure approval to invest $xxx million.
... win this competition.
Name of main contact
Position of main contact
Name of business
Address of business - enter " <BR> " to insert a new line.
Web site address
Email address for main contact
Phone number of main contact
Mobile/cell number of main contact
Fax number of main contact

  2. Strategic Plan Present a medium-term (3+ year) view of the business. Study sample text below.
Describe the ongoing mission (and activities) of the business. Express them in terms of what the business does (makes, sells etc.) and how it operates and NOT in terms of philosophies and ideals. Xxx designs, produces and markets a range of xxx (offerings) for xxx (market areas) to meet the needs of xxx customers. Xxx features make them unique/ special. We (plan to) undertake extensive R&D and sell through a network of regional distributors.
Highlight major strategies (actions and programs) to be pursued over next 3 or so years for key areas such as offerings, markets, sales, R&D, management, operations and finance. Avoid short-term or tactical items.

Our main focus will be on xxx markets (xxx customer groups) and xxx type of outlets.
A network of national distributors will be established.
Venture capital needed in 20XX and 20XX.
Our product range will be extended through licensing/R&D to include xxx.
In 20XX, we will seeka joint venture partner to enter xx market.
Present a vision of the business for 3-5 years hence in terms of size (sales and employment), location(s), spread of sales and main offerings. By 20XX, Xxx will be selling xxx (offerings) to a customer base comprising xxx. Annual sales will hit $xxx,000 and net income could be $xxx,000. xx people will work from xx locations.

  3. Background & Status Indicate the background to the formation (growth) of the business and summarize current status and achievements. Study sample text below.
Use up to three bullets to review the formation and general progress of the business to date. Xxx was formed in 20XX by Mr Xxx and Ms Xxx who previously worked for Xxx Inc. and Xxx Inc. respectively.
For past xxx years Xxx's main emphasis has been on R&D and ...
Sales in year to end 20XX were $xxx,000 and profits/losses were $xxx,000. Net cash balance is currently $xxx,000.
Use up to four bullets to highlight major (or recent) developments or achievements. Seed capital of $xxx,000 secured in 20XX.
Beta site testing at Xxx Inc. since 20XX.
Market research and business plan completed.
Mr Xxx to join as sales director next month.
   You may wish to copy/paste the text in the Outline Plan into a text editor such as Notepad as backup.

  4. Offerings Introduce existing (proposed) products and services, pricing plan and competition. Study sample text below.
Use these two bullets to introduce the proposed offering(s) in non-technical terms. Explain what it is (or does) and how it meets a "real" need. Sophisticated ultra high pressure water jet cutting systems.
Water pumped at extremely high velocity (mach 2+) through a micro-nozzle to cut through hard and/or delicate materials.
Use these bullets to identify prime purchasers/ users and highlight key features. Used in aerospace, electronics, medical devices and other precision engineering areas where exact cuts are needed.
System is NC based and uses robotic arm for material handling.
Cuts are extremely "clean". Makes holes only 0.3 mm diameter.
Give a price indicator. Typical selling price to distributors will be $xxx,000 with 25% markup to end users.
Introduce main competitors' offerings. If no direct competition, indicate close competitors or equivalent offerings. Competing offerings include Xxx (made by Xxx Inc.in USA) and Xxx (made by Xxx Ltd in UK and distributed by Xxx Inc. in USA).
Highlight any unique competitive advantages of your offerings and business methods. How are they better or different? Main alternatives are electrodes, lasers and routers but these lack Xxx's precision and speed.

  5. Target Markets Profile target markets as narrowly and specifically as possible and introduce competitors. Study sample text below.

Identify the target market niche(s) and/or customer group(s) as precisely as possible - segment, segment and segment - and profile typical customers/users.

 

Target market is within Xxx (city) catchment area.
Typical customers will be AB1's seeking high-quality convenience meals.
Indicate size (and trends) of target markets (defined as narrowly as possible) in value terms or in terms of possible customer numbers. Distinguish between size of total and served market. Xxx (city) will expand in size from xxx,000 to xxx,000 over the next five years.
Number of potential up-market diners will increase by xx% to xxx,000 within the targeted xx suburbs.
Introduce main competitors in order of estimated market shares. Main competitors are ...
Spare bullet points for this slide. Xxx (competitor) supplies xxx meals at $xx each a week from 3 outlets.
 

  6. Marketing & Sales Plans Present proposed marketing strategies and detailed sales plans and projections. Study sample text below.
Introduce longer term marketing strategies to be followed. Initial focus will be xxx industries in USA with gradual expansion into Japan.
Opening sales offices in Xxx and Xxx within 2 years.
Secure reference sites in additional key industries and countries.
Summarize shorter term sales and distribution plans. Recruit 3 sales agents within 2 years and support with extensive web- and print-based promotion.
Subcontract delivery to either Xxx Inc. or Xxx Inc.
Summarize projected marketing resources and/or expenditure. Marketing spend (as % sales) for three years to 20XX will be $xxx,000, $xxx,000 and $xxx,000 (xx%, xx% and xx%).
Specify value of annual sales for one, two and three years hence. When polishing the text off-line, insert a simple table (or chart) with breakdown of sales by major markets or product groups (maximum of 3). Overall sales will be $xxx,000, $xxx,000 and $xxx,000.

  7. Technology & R&D Plans
     
You can rename this heading to something more appropriate. Study sample text below.
introduce any key technologies used. Key technologies used by our 3D monitor display system are based on complex image processing methods which ...
Indicate extent of R&D effort to date and planned for next 3 years. Xx man years of R&D to date. Further xx man years planned for next three years.
List key R&D projects planned (in order of size or importance). 20XX: Develop beta processor for glasses-less LCD monitor in association with Xxx manufacturers.
20XX: Launch initial commercial version for large LCDs.
20XX: Develop prototype for plasma TVs.
Specify projected cost of R&D effort for next 3 years. Aggregate R&D spend over next 3 years will be $xxx,000.
Mention any patent or IPR issues. Xxx holds 2 patents and further 3 pending.
   Reminder: You may wish to copy/paste the text in the Outline Plan into a text editor such as Notepad as backup.

  8. Management & Operations Introduce the management team and summarize operations. Study sample text below.
Identify key managers and profile them (briefly). Mr Xxx: CEO. Aged xx. Formed business in 20XX. Previously, tech director of Xxx Inc. and research fellow at Xxx University. PhD and MBA.
Ms Xxx: Operations Director. Aged xx. Worked in operations at Xxx for 15 years.
Mr Xxx: Financial Director. Aged xx. Former senior consultant with Xxx Partners. CPA.
 
Indicate where business will be located. Xxx will be located in a xx,000 sq office at xxx.
Identify key aspects of operations in relation to methods/procedures, distribution, service provision, support and/or production. Xxx will subcontract production and distribution but undertake support in-house. It will source capacity to produce xxx units p.a.
Summarize total staffing projections for next three years. Best to use a simple table (or chart) showing 2/3 categories of staff when finalizing text off-line. Three-year staff projections: xx, xx, xx.
Spare bullet point for this slide.  

  9. Financials Summarize your financial assumptions and projections. Study sample text below.
Mention any additional key assumptions such as capital expenditure, external funding etc.

Projections include capex of $xxx,000 and market entry cost of $xxx,000 over next 3 years.

Include equity ($xxx,000) and loans ($xxx,000) to be secured over next 2-3 years.
Summarize the income (P&L) projections for third year in terms of sales and net income (before taxes). Best to use a simple table (or chart) showing 2/3 rows of data when finalizing plan off-line. The chart opposite was pasted from Exl-Plan, our tool for generating comprehensive Excel-based financial projections.
Summarize cash flow projections in terms of peak debt and net cash position at end of third year. When finalizing your plan off-line, best to use a simple chart showing net cash flow by month or quarter as per this Exl-Plan chart.
Summarize other key financial results and ratios or use a simple table/chart to show annual data. These ratios are automatically generated by Exl-Plan. In third year: xx% next profit margin and xx% return on total assets.
Peak debt/equity ratio of xx% will arise during xxx 20XX.
Break even sales of $xxx,000 will be reached by xx (month) 20XX.
Spare bullet point for this slide e.g. use it to summarize a "worst" case scenario which could be easily developed using Exl-Plan once the "base" case has been compiled. In "worst" case, break even will be reached in xx (month) 20XX when borrowings will peak at $xxx,000.
   You may wish to copy/paste the text in the Outline Plan into a text editor such as Notepad as backup.

  10. Funding
       
You can rename this heading to something more appropriate. Study sample text below.
Summarize the immediate funding need, form of funding (e.g. debt, equity) and timing. Exl-Plan is ideal for assessing funding needs. Seeking $xxx,000 equity in return for significant stake.
Loans of $xxx,000 conditional on raising equity.
Highlight any key attractions, terms or pre-conditions.  
Identify possible exit routes (or repayment plans). Most likely exit route is a trade sale.
Spare bullet point for this slide.  

  11. Implementation Summarize  medium-term actions and programs. Study sample text below.
List in chronological order 4-6 key milestones to be attained over next 2-3 years. Lead off each item with a target start or finish date. August 20XX: Commence .... Complete by July 20XX.
xxx 20XX:
xxx 20XX:
xxx 20XX:
xxx 20XX:
xxx 20XX:
   Reminder: You may wish to copy/paste the text in the Outline Plan into a text editor such as Notepad as backup.

  12. Conclusion Mention highlights of plan and "sell" the business and prospects. Study sample text below.
Use these bullets to summarize the highlights of your plan and to "sell" the business. Innovative products with significant IPRs.
Experienced promoters and strong team.
Growing, attractive market and encouraging feedback secured.
Significant progress achieved on all fronts.
Exciting investment opportunity with follow-on funding possibilities.

That completes the Outline Plan. If desired, you can now review and polish the text and remove unnecessary duplication.

If you paste the Outline Plan into Word (or similar), you can spell check your entries and apply corrections in the boxes above before finalization.

IMPORTANT - IMPORTANT:

  1. Copy/paste the finalized text in the Outline Plan into a text editor such as Notepad as backup and then save it as a permanent record.
  2. Save a copy of the compiled Outline Plan onto your PC using your browser (as a *.htm file if using Internet Explorer and as *.php file if using Netscape).

Please Send Feedback
If you have used some or all of the Planner, we'd welcome anonymous feedback and suggestions. No identification or email address is required. However, if you wish us to reply to feedback, you must include your email address.
How long did you spend drafting your plan (minutes) ?
How many people are employed in the organization for which you made the plan ?
Where is this organization located ?

  

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4. Using the Outline Plan

To place a copy of your Outline Plan on a web site, save it to your PC and then upload it as a *.htm file to the site. You can also distribute it as an email attachment.

You can use the Outline Plan as follows:

    • Print it directly either online or off-line (after saving the compiled file). Tip: Use your browser's Print > Preview to select the page numbers to be printed.
    • Copy/paste the Outline Plan into Word. This will preserve its formatting and you'll be able to edit or add text.
    • Copy/paste the Outline Plan into a basic text processor (Notepad or similar) and then use this content as the basis for a 10-12 slide presentation (using PowerPoint or similar).

To prepare a more detailed business plan based on your Outline Plan, explore the following software tools:

  • Business Planner - Comprehensive business plan writer (incorporating outliner, text, charts, financials and extensive help.

  • Expert Business Planner - Similar to Business Planner with the addition of an expert system to analyses your plan and provides expert advice.

  • Free-Plan - Free Business Plan Template for Word (48 pages) and a complementary Guide (supplied as a 90+ topic Help file and as a 100+ page PDF file for printing. Note: This uses the exact same business plan structure as the Online Planner and its Outline Plan.

If you need to develop financial projections as part of your plan, use Exl-Plan (for Excel) to prepare fully-integrated 3/5/7-year financial projections (P&Ls, cash flows, balance sheets, ratio analyses and graphs). Get full details and trial copy downloads.



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PlanWare, Cashflow Plan, Exl-Plan, Quik-Plan, Free-Plan, Biz-Plan, Easi-Plan, Cash-Plan, Pers-Plan, Your-Plan and Bank-Plan are trademarks or registered trademarks property of Invest-Tech Limited. Microsoft and the Office logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Plan Write, Quick Insight and Business Insight are trademarks or registered trademarks property of BRS Inc. © Copyright 1999-2014. Invest-Tech Limited. All rights reserved.