Ask any successful sports coach how they win so many games, and they’ll tell you they have a unique plan for every single game they coach. To have a fighting chance against any of their opponents, they need to prepare a specific game plan tailored to each of their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses. Otherwise, they’ll get crushed.

The same logic applies to business. If you want to build a thriving company that can pull ahead of the competition, you need to prepare yourself for battle before you break into a market. Because companies who can find gaps in your business model will quickly learn how to fill those gaps and solve your customers’ problems better than you can.Take control of your success with the help of this free business plan template  and checklist.The business world moves fast, and it’s full of ambitious companies scrambling to gain the majority of their industry’s market share. So how do you keep up? Writing a viable business plan and following it religiously is one of the most important first steps.

Business plans guide you along the rocky journey of growing a company. Referencing one throughout your voyage will keep you on the path toward success. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

But how do you actually write a viable and convincing business plan? To find out, we scoured the web for the top sample business plans around. Here’s the six best we found.

6 Sample Business Plans to Help You Write Your Own

1. Panda Doc’s Free Business Plan Template

Panda Doc’s free business plan template is one of the more detailed and fleshed out sample business plans on this list. It describes what you should include in each of its sections, so you don't have to come up with everything from scratch.

Once you fill it out, you’ll fully understand your business’ nitty gritty details and how all of its moving parts should work together to contribute to your business’ success.

2. ThoughtCo’s Sample Business Plan

If you want to reference an actual business plan while writing your own, ThoughtCo’s got you covered. They created a fictional company called Acme Management Technology and wrote an entire business plan for them.

Using their sample business plan as a guide while filling out your own will help you catch and include small yet potent details in your business plan that you otherwise might not have noticed.

3. BPlan’s Free Business Plan Template

One of the more financially oriented sample business plans in this list, BPlan’s free business plan template dedicates more than half of its pages to your business’ financial plan and financial statements.

After filling this business plan out, your company will truly understand its financial health and the steps you need to take to maintain or improve it.

4. Harvard Business Review’s “How to Write a Winning Business Plan”

Most sample business plans teach you what to include in your business plan, but this Harvard Business Review article will take your business plan to the next level -- it teaches you the why and how behind writing a business plan.

With the guidance of Stanley Rich and Richard Gumpert, co-authors of Business Plans That Win: Lessons From the MIT Enterprise Forum, you'll learn how to write a convincing business plan that emphasizes the market demand for your product or service and the financial benefits investors can reap from putting money into your venture, rather than trying to sell them on how great your product or service is.

5. HubSpot’s Complete Guide to Starting a Business

If you’re an entrepreneur, you know writing a business plan is one of the most challenging first steps to starting a business. Fortunately, with HubSpot's comprehensive guide to starting a business, you'll learn how to map out all the details of your business by understanding what to include in your business plan and why it’s important to include them. The guide also fleshes out an entire sample business plan for you.

If you need further guidance on starting a business, HubSpot's guide can teach you how to make your business legal, choose and register your business name, fund your business, gives information about small business tax, and provides marketing, sales, and service tips.

6. HubSpot’s & General Assembly’s Business Plan Template

In 2017, HubSpot partnered with General Assembly, an educational organization that teaches individuals and companies tech skills through on-campus and online classes, to create a business plan template for entrepreneurs.

The template is designed as a guide and checklist for starting your own business, so you’ll learn what to include in each section of your business plan and how to do it. There’s also a list for you to check off when you finish each section of your business plan.

You need a game plan to win the game of business.

Strong game plans help coaches win games and help businesses rocket to the top of their industries. So if you dedicate the time and effort required to write a viable and convincing business plan, you’ll boost your chances of success and even dominance in your market.

Business Plan Template

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Originally published Nov 8, 2018 6:00:00 AM, updated November 08 2018