Draft Business Plan Tool

We know that writing a full business plan can be a daunting experience at first, this is why we have created a business plan template to help you start. Using the tool below, you can work through all of the sections which need to be convered in your plan. We have broken this down into a series of questions which can be answered in one or two sentences. Once completed, you will have the first draft of your full business plan. Every business is unique, and the templated is just a guide. Make sure to include all relevant information to your specific venture, and if something is covered in our template, then remember to add it in afterwards.


Draft Business Plan Tool development is very context dependent. Most business plan guides follow a similar generic structure, and offer some additional insight or perspective, as there are always common categories that most businesses will need to convey to most audiences. The innovation context for plant pests control products and plant protection, however, often is a mismatch to the nuances of generic business plans for several reasons. In plant health the many innovative technologies are developed differently, or for different objectives. These differences were found to be due to several factors:

  • Not aimed at a profit motive

The developer may be public sector and/or financed through public support as part of an ongoing programme, in which the innovation has arisen as a public good or is not necessarily the objective of the programme; or the innovation may arise within a project or programme that has defined public good or charitable objectives. Even though an innovation may not be aimed at profit, there may be a need for commercialisation and cost recovery, or at the very least a method of delivery that enquires planning similar to many aspects of more traditional business planning.

  • Mixed group of developers

The innovation may result from collaboration or sequential refinement by a mix of players and sectors, including public-private or academic-public, that are either willing to share the benefits either (because of an altruistic aim) or under a contractual requirement to share benefits, e.g. due to philanthropic or crowd funding. The sequential or supplemental enhancement of products also complicates potential for IP protection, when the additional results cannot be exploited independently of existing technology, for example. Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is made up of many such enhancements that improved on earlier ideas.

  • Complex or unprofitable intellectual property options

The complexity of trying to establish or protect IP may limit interest/value in pursuing a typical commercialisation pathway. This can occur because of the nature of the innovation, for example because it is something less tangible such as a technology package, extension message, set of sequential instructions, or improved interpretational method complementing other technologies. If a business has simply a better product than competitors, for a product sufficiently difficult to produce, costs of IP protection may not be warranted.

  • Improvements or new approaches to IP already in the public domain

The innovation may be based on technologies or aspects that are either already in the public domain or not easily covered by traditional IP protection. Some innovations may be supplemental to existing technologies and it could prove difficult to harness the value added through IP protection. In these cases, it may be more important to maintain branding reputation, best service, or quality management of delivery. These mechanisms for exploitation of innovation may also occur for non-biological products as well, of course. Each can be represented and thought through in the framework of a business plan, but will have unique characteristics making parts of a Model Business Plan less relevant or needing more elaboration.

We know that writing a full business plan can be a daunting experience at first, therefore we have created a business plan template to help you start. Using the tool below, you can work through all the sections which need to be covered in your plan. We have broken this down into a series of questions which can be answered in one or two sentences. Once completed, you will have the first draft of your full business plan.

Remember that every business is unique, and the templated is just a guide. Make sure to include all relevant information to your specific venture, and if something is covered in our template, then remember to add it in afterwards.
To help you on the way, the guide includes several helpful external references and guides to ensure that you are able to complete each section.

Executive summary

This section should be completed last once all subsequent sections have been filled. From this section, any reader should be able to understand in general terms everything contained in the rest of the business plan, but without going into too much detail.

Two-page synopsis of the following

  • Introduce yourself and your project
  • Define the problem you are solving
  • How does your solution solve this problem?
  • What has been your traction to date?
  • How big is the market that you’re trying to break into?
  • What is your unique selling point?
  • Why can your team achieve your goals?
  • What are your next steps?

What is the purpose of this business plan?

The above points (and the rest of the business plan) should always be curated to match the purpose of your business plan. Why have you decided to create the business plan in the first place? 
Are you: looking for investment; marketing to potential customers; expanding your team; formalizing your business idea into a coherent document; or simply creating an internal document to keep your team on track?
The executive summary should explain the fundamentals of the proposed business with the purpose identified above in mind.  Please view the Stakeholder Guide for more information.
Use this to consider how to convey the following suggested points:
What will your product be? Who will your customers be? Who are the owners? What do you expect your business and your industry will look like in the future?
Highlight the strengths of the business and why you should be supported. Indicate the expected turnover and profitability for the following year. If you have started conducting business already, briefly describe your performance to date; for example, provide details of turnover and profitability for the previous one or two years. How does your business’s performance compare against your competitors? What traction have you gained, and have you reached any milestones?
Your executive summary should be passionate, professional, complete, and succinct. If applying for investment, state clearly how much you want, precisely how you are going to use it, and how the money will make your business more profitable, thereby ensuring repayment.

Business summary

The executive summary section is meant to be a brief but complete overview of the entire business plan (much like the purpose of an executive summary for an academic paper). The following sections should go into much more detail so that the reader can get a full understanding of who you are and what you are doing. The first section that is usually included is an overview of the business; this template should be used as a guide for what can be included in each section.

Overview of section

This section should include:

  • Company summary
  • Management summary

Please use the following table as a guide for what should/could be included in this section. You should consider writing a paragraph or two for each of the sections in the table, if applicable to your group (space has been provided to write directly into the table). If you believe that anything additional should be included which is specific to your company, then feel free to add it in. This is template is simply a guide; every company is different!

Company Summary

Your Vision and Mission

Your Purpose


Business History

Performance vs others



Management Summary

Legal Structure

Organizational chart

Project Management

Personnel Plan

Products and Services

Describe what you are selling, or intend to sell, in language which any reader will understand.  This may be a product, service, technique, package, or other. Even if you do not intend to make a profit with your business, you must still ‘sell’ what your business is offering.

Avoid specific sectorial terminology wherever possible; a reader wanting more detailed information on technical aspects of your product will ask for it. Include such information in an appendix: technical specifications, drawings, photos, sales brochures, and other bulky items.

Explain why customers will want to buy the product or services (again, even if you are providing a service and do not intend to make a profit, your users still need to buy into your approach).


Customer/User Problem

Your solution

Customer/User Features

Customer/User Benefits

Competitive Advantages/Disadvantages

Are you unique?

In Use?



Production capacity


Market Analysis

This section is all about the market. This means showing that a market exists (without a significant market you should reconsider whether it is worth undertaking the venture), identifying who your users/customers are, identifying who else is working/selling within your market, how you have created a niche.

Your market analysis summary should include the following sections:

  • Economics Section
  • Product Section
  • Customers Section
  • Competition Section


Who are your users/ customers?


Market Size

Current Market Demand

Market Trends

Meeting Demand

Growth Potential

Potential Barriers


Product Description

Customer Service

Other Details








Competitive Summary


Maketing Strategy

You described the purpose of your business in the business summary section. That purpose should be translated into marketing objectives and goals which will support its realization.
Objectives should be quantifiable, measurable, challenging and achievable. Typical objectives might be profitability, sales growth, diversification and improvement in market share.

Objectives might include, for example:

  • to sell 220 units and generate £100,000 over the next 12 months
  • to deliver a service to 1000 users over the next 24 months; or,
  • to capture 18% of the defined market.

Whether you are selling a product, service or other, and whether you are intending to maximize profit or are working as a charity, you should always work towards well defined objectives.  This will ensure that your business and team are moving in the right direction, and that you are on the right track to achieve what you set out to when you established the business in the first place.
The marketing plan to achieve these objectives should be described using the 4Ps (product, place, price, promotion). Your chosen “positioning” will also affect how you implement the 4Ps.

Your marketing plan should include the following sections:

  • Objectives Section
  • Product Section
  • Place Section
  • Price Section
  • Promotion Section




Product Development


Legal Environment




Physical Details






Proposed Price

Price Justification

Credit Policies




Management and Organisation

It is important to demonstrate that you can carry out the tasks to make the business work. Focus only on the key points: People, Production, Premises.

Who will manage the business on a day-to-day basis? What experience does that person bring to the business? What special or distinctive competencies? Is there a plan for continuation of the business if this person is lost or incapacitated?

If you’ll have more than 10 employees, create an organizational chart showing the management hierarchy and who is responsible for key functions.

Include position descriptions for key employees. If you are seeking loans or investors, include resumes of owners and key employees.

The team is one of the most important aspects to a business plan. If the investor does not believe that the team can deliver on what it promises, then even the best business plan will be compromised.

List the following:

  • Board of directors
  • Management advisory board
  • Attorney
  • Accountant
  • Insurance agent
  • Banker
  • Consultant or consultants
  • Mentors and key advisors

Financial Plan

The financial plan consists of a 12-month profit and loss projection, a four-year profit and loss projection (optional), a cash-flow projection, a projected balance sheet, and a break-even calculation. Together they constitute a reasonable estimate of your company's financial future. More important, the process of thinking through the financial plan will improve your insight into the inner financial workings of your company.
Guides have been provided via hyperlink for each element.  Please use these to create your financial plans.

12-Month Profit and Loss Projection

Many business owners think of the 12-month profit and loss projection as the centerpiece of their plan. This is where you put it all together in numbers and get an idea of what it will take to make a profit and be successful.
Your sales projections will come from a sales forecast in which you forecast sales, cost of goods sold, expenses, and profit month-by-month for one year.  Profit projections should be accompanied by a narrative explaining the major assumptions used to estimate company income and expenses.
Research Notes: Keep careful notes on your research and assumptions, so that you can explain them later if necessary, and so that you can go back to your sources when it’s time to revise your plan.

Four-Year Profit Projection (Optional)

The 12-month projection is the heart of your financial plan. This section is for those who want to carry their forecasts beyond the first year.
Of course, keep notes of your key assumptions, especially about things that you expect will change dramatically after the first year.

Projected Cash Flow

If the profit projection is the heart of your business plan, cash flow is the blood. Businesses fail because they cannot pay their bills. Every part of your business plan is important, but none of it means a thing if you run out of cash.
The point of this worksheet is to plan how much you need before startup, for preliminary expenses, operating expenses, and reserves. You should keep updating it and using it afterward. It will enable you to foresee shortages in time to do something about them—perhaps cut expenses, or perhaps negotiate a loan. But foremost, you shouldn’t be taken by surprise.

Opening Day Balance Sheet

A balance sheet is one of the fundamental financial reports that any business needs for reporting and financial management.  A balance sheet shows what items of value are held by the company (assets), and what its debts are (liabilities). When liabilities are subtracted from assets, the remainder is owners’ equity.
Use a startup expenses and capitalization spreadsheet as a guide to preparing a balance sheet as of opening day. Then detail how you calculated the account balances on your opening day balance sheet.

Break-Even Analysis

A break-even analysis predicts the sales volume, at a given price, required to recover total costs. In other words, it’s the sales level that is the dividing line between operating at a loss and operating at a profit.
Expressed as a formula, break-even is:

Breakeven Sales          =

Fixed Costs

1- Variable Costs

(Where fixed costs are expressed in dollars, but variable costs are expressed as a percent of total sales.)
Include all assumptions upon which your break-even calculation is based.

Sensitivity or Risk Analysis

Sensitivity analysis looks at “what if...?” questions. What will be the effect, say, of a 10% fall in sales or a 20% increase in raw material prices? You can help the business plan appraiser by briefly considering such questions yourself and assessing the likely risks particularly of falling sales or rising prices.

Financial Requirements

Indicate how much money or other assets will be invested by yourself (and any partners). Give details of how much is sought from other sources and explain whether it is wanted as overdraft (for working capital), as term loans (for equipment for example), as equity, or as a combination of these.
If any security, for example, in the form of a house, is available, then say so. Most banks look for at least some security, particularly if they are being asked to provide the bulk of the finance. The offer of security is a demonstration of your commitment to, and confidence in, the business. It is also a demonstration of your willingness to take risks, especially if you have little cash of your own to invest.


The obtained results need to be assessed to measure any possible deviation from initial forecasts, and if so, to analyze the causes of this deviation and take the appropriate corrective actions. Moreover, knowing that markets change over time, it is necessary to control and re-evaluate the realization of the business plan. If necessary, it may even be advisable to change the objectives initially set.

We suggest you clarify which crucial parameters you will follow to monitor your performance and the likely evolution of market conditions.


In addition to anything mentioned above, you might include:

  • Photographs
  • Quotations for equipment and necessary insurance
  • Legal information - partnership agreement, leases etc
  • A copy of your primary research questionnaires; and
  • Relevant secondary research information.
  • Feasibility study showing the technical and financial sustainability of the initiative
  • Financial statements, balance sheets and explanatory notes of the last four years, Chart of account and budgets 2015and 2016. Does the company use the IAS or national accounting standards? If not, it is necessary that financial and economic information are reclassified according to IAS/IFRS Gaap
  • Information about amortizations, mortgages, leasing (relevant)
  • Shareholders expectations (dividends, capital increase, reinvestment of earnings).