It is very important for all businesses to have a written plan. The process of filling out a Plan document prompts us to think about our business goals and activities in ways that we don’t ordinarily do. And it causes us to stop and think about whether we are working towards goals (whether that be growth or ability to sustain the current level of activity), instead of being distracted by the day-to-day to the extent that we forget to question whether that day-to-day is consistent with our objectives, or even the business’ mission.
There are many templates available. I have chosen to upload this particular template (authored by the National Australia Bank) because it includes sections for a lot of basic information about business details and key personnel. This might not seem relevant to you at first, but this information may be seen in a new light when you look at your completed plan and think about how you will proceed in the future; seeing at a glance what you have accomplished and what resources are at your disposal, can help you to see how to leverage those things to achieve your goals. Also, it is important to have this information available if you need to share your Plan with investors or lenders.
The other reason I like this template is that it is in Word document format instead of PDF. This makes it much easier to edit and tailor to your needs. Filling in the plan template is easy, especially if you follow the guidance in the explanatory section, starting on page 22 of the downloaded document.
The most important things to remember is that the document is just a template – and you are free to tailor it to your own needs. If a section is irrelevant, such as the Company section if you are a sole trader, then you can delete it. Alternately, you might decide to just leave it blank if you expect to change your business structure or activities in the future.
If you are in a country other than Australia, you can still use the same template, updating the regulatory body details to match your jurisdiction.
Click to download the Template in Microsoft Word format (97-2003 compatible, 158KB):